Manchester United to provide 5,000 free school meals over half-term

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Manchester United will provide free school meals through half-term (Manchester United)
Manchester United will provide free school meals through half-term (Manchester United)

Manchester United will deliver 5,000 free school meals to children during half-term, the club have announced.

Each day this week, food provided by charity FareShare will be processed, prepared and packaged into individual meals at Old Trafford by United staff before being shipped to local Manchester United Foundation partner schools.

The schools in turn will provide the meals to children who receive government-funded free meals during term-time.

Six schools are involved: Waterhead Academy, Dean Trust Rose Bridge, The East Manchester Academy, Manchester Enterprise Academy, Manchester Academy, Stretford High School.

Meals will also be delivered to other local charities as part of the scheme.

It comes at a time when the government is under pressure to reverse its decision to provide free school meals over the holiday in England. United striker Marcus Rashford has led a campaign to extend the free meals provision.

"Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more families are dealing with food poverty," a statement from the club read.

"The impact of the virus has exacerbated an existing problem and, with unemployment rising and the economic crisis biting hard, many are struggling with reduced income.

"As a result, many families and children simply do not have enough food and are going hungry. This initiative does not solve the issue locally, but will make a significant difference to the lives of hundreds of families across Greater Manchester."

John Shiels, the chief executive of the Manchester United Foundation, added: "We're incredibly proud and humbled to be working with FareShare over October half-term. This initiative will go a long way to ensuring that pupils from our partner schools and families using local food-banks have fresh meals to eat, during what we know is a difficult time for many.

"We've seen first-hand how children from socially challenged backgrounds can be even more vulnerable when they're not in school, it's therefore imperative to be present in their lives throughout the school holidays, showing that we care and the Foundation is always here to support."

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