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Children and Food Poverty During the Pandemic


An issue that has been discussed many times during the coronavirus pandemic is that of food poverty. The campaign to reinstate free school meals was championed by footballer and food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford MBE. This led to a turnaround by the government and free school meals were finally provided during the first lockdown. However, recently the subject of food poverty hit the headlines again.

We all saw the reports of the abysmal and inadequate replacement food boxes that were being provided for vulnerable children by the private companies, including Chartwells. The government launched an investigation and promised to provide more funding to help the poorest children.

It is a sad reality that free school meals are often the only decent food that some children receive each day. The fact that Marcus Rashford and other celebrities had to campaign for this to continue shows the government’s shocking disregard for vulnerable families.

The recent transition to food boxes shows how out of touch the government is with people who are financially struggling, and more so due to the ongoing pandemic. Many pictures surfaced on social media depicting the contents of these food boxes which are supposed to provide 10 days of lunches for £30. There were claims that they do not provide enough food and nutrition and are nowhere near the value of £30.

A family may be struggling, but this does not mean the children deserve to be given substandard food. Marcus Rashford’s campaign against food poverty has, at the very least, forced the government to sit up and pay attention!

Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the huge increase in the use of food banks has highlighted how many people are struggling to adequately feed themselves and their families. The fact there are so many children going hungry today is shocking. The recent coverage and bad press concerning food boxes has prompted the return to the £30 shopping voucher scheme. This positive development gives families some autonomy and choice in providing sufficient food for their children.