Leeds United match £25,000 child hunger food bank donation made by Liam Cooper and squad
The Leeds United first-team squad have thrown their support behind the End Child Food Poverty initiative that has been backed by the city of Leeds, with the Leeds Community Foundation, Leeds City Council and local organisations working together to support as many struggling children and families as possible.
England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford has been campaigning to get free school meals for kids extended over the holidays this winter.
But despite his campaigning, MPs voted against the proposals in Parliament last week.
-> Why I voted against free school meals - Leeds MP Alec Shelbrooke Captain Liam Cooper announced on Saturday morning that the squad will guarantee a donation of £25,000 to the campaign and continue to show their support and help where needed, to try and ensure that no family goes without during the school holidays.
Following a campaign led by fellow Premier League player Marcus Rashford to end child food poverty, the Leeds United players wanted to join the city’s business community in rallying behind schemes up and down the country to help provide free meals, with the Scotland international encouraging more people to get involved as “no child should ever go hungry”.
A spokesman for Leeds United added: "The Leeds Community Foundation are delivering a Healthy Holidays programme, which is a partnership project that supports thousands of children out of term time and is set to run over the upcoming school break.
"Since April, the programme has provided just under 130,000 portions of food to children and their families, alongside offering online activities, face-to-face activities, and activity packs delivered to their homes.
"The programme is aimed at helping to reduce the impact of holiday hunger and other pressures that families experience, as well as providing increased opportunities and experiences for young people in the areas of greatest need.
"Leeds City Council are constantly working to ensure every child who lives in poverty in Leeds has access to healthy and nutritious food during every holiday period, however in these tough times they are relying on the support of more generous organisations and individuals to be able to support all of the families and youngsters who need it, to really make a difference.
"If you are in a position to provide support to the Healthy Holiday programme in Leeds – through resources or funding – please contact the Leeds Community Foundation at [email protected]."
What happened with the free school meals vote?
The government took a vote on a motion which, if approved, would have seen free school meals for kids extended through the holidays.
The vote in the House of Commons followed a campaign by England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.
A motion put forward by the Labour party which called for free school meals to be extended over school holidays until Easter 2021 was defeated by 261 votes to 322 – majority 61 - in the Commons on Wednesday, October 21.
Following the vote, Manchester United forward Rashford vowed to continue campaigning, writing on Twitter: “For as long as they don’t have a voice, they will have mine.”
Since then, hundreds of businesses across the country have come forward to offer free meals - including Indian restaurant Mumtaz, in Leeds Dock.