Leeds United squad back Marcus Rashford's free school meals campaign by donating £25,000 to hungry children

Leeds United are donating £25,000 to make sure children in the city are able to eat during the school holidays.

By Rebecca Marano
Saturday, 24th October 2020, 1:38 pm
Updated Saturday, 24th October 2020, 3:57 pm
Leeds United captain Liam Cooper confirmed that the club will donate £25,000 to make sure children in Leeds are fed during the school holidays.
Leeds United captain Liam Cooper confirmed that the club will donate £25,000 to make sure children in Leeds are fed during the school holidays.

It comes after the Government voted against a Labour motion to extend the free school meals voucher system until Easter 2021.

The decision was met with outrage across the country but campaigner and footballer Marcus Rashford vowed to continue fighting for children who are living in poverty.

Leeds United have now confirmed that the club would also be doing their bit to make sure "no kids go to bed hungry."

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Captain Liam Cooper said: "Let’s do this Leeds! No children should ever go hungry.

"£25k guaranteed from the squad. We stand with you Marcus Rashford."

Rashford, who plays for Leeds' bitter rivals, responded with a heart emoji on Twitter.

Cooper told Yorkshire Evening Post: "Me and the players are really fortunate and we are in a position to help and therefore we are delighted to support the campaign from Leeds City Council inspired by Marcus.

"No kids should go to bed hungry."

Since the vote, thousands of schools and businesses have stepped up to ensure children in Leeds are fed.

Mumtaz is offering free takeaway meals for children aged four to 16, children can eat free at The Beehive in Thorner, The Learning Curve in west Leeds has pre-paid sandwiches and drinks for children on school meals to pick up at two cafes in Farsley and sandwiches are also being funded by Harvey's Butchers Jasper's Cafe in the village.

Leeds City Council is also making sure money from its Healthy Holidays scheme is used in the hardest hit areas to get the maximum impact.

Whites fans have also raised a whopping £50,000 by boycotting the pay-per-view TV matches and donating the money to local food banks instead.

Fans could watch Friday's match against Aston Villa on BT Sport Box Office for a fee of £14.95, but the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust (LUST) encouraged fans not to pay and to donate the money instead.

LUST vice chair Graham Hyde said: “We’re absolutely blown away by it.

“Before Monday, we’d raised over the course of 18 months to two years £31,650 – we’ve more than doubled that in the space of five days.

“It’s mindblowing, but at the same time we’re not surprised.

“Leeds fans when they come together like this are phenomenally powerful in terms of how they support their community, how they support each other and how generous they can be.”

Mr Hyde said the £50,000 donated would provide more than 32,0000 meals through the Leeds South And East and Leeds North And West food banks, which operate under the Trussell Trust.

He also took time to praise Marcus Rashford for his fundraising efforts - despite him playing for club rival's Manchester United.

Mr Hyde said: "It seems almost like an alien thing to do but I think most Leeds fans would very much doff their cap to Marcus Rashford and the amazing work he’s doing in terms of trying to end child hunger,” Mr Hyde said.

“We can ignore the fact that he plays for them."