CNA Staff, Jun 17, 2020 / 08:45 am
England soccer star Marcus Rashford won praise when he persuaded the government Tuesday to extend a free school meal voucher scheme to cover the summer break.
The Manchester United forward’s campaign will allow parents to claim vouchers for around 1.3 million children in England during the six-week holiday.
While Catholic charities welcomed the breakthrough, they said that the new measure alone would not be enough to ensure that children have enough to eat when schools close next month.
Anna Gavurin, coordinator of the Caritas Food Collective at Caritas Westminster, said in a statement June 16: “In the last few weeks we have seen many schools setting up their own food banks and food parcel delivery schemes to support families who are struggling.”
“Even with free school meal vouchers available, schools are seeing a level of need so great that they have been forced to provide direct food relief themselves.”
The Caritas Food Collective seeks to tackle food poverty across the Diocese of Westminster, which covers all of London north of the River Thames. It has been working closely during the coronavirus pandemic with St. Bernadette’s Primary School in Kenton, Harrow, a suburban area of Greater London.
Headteacher David O’Farrell told CNA that the organization was helping him to provide food vouchers for hard-to-reach families who don’t qualify for free school vouchers.
“Marcus Rashford was right: we can’t stop doing that in the summer holidays because that’s the worst time to turn off that tap. But the problem is that it doesn’t reach everybody because not everyone’s on the free school meals register,” he said June 16, the day of the government U-turn.