Marcus Rashford's Free School Meals Petition Hits Over One Million Signatures
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Marcus Rashford's petition for free school meals has hit one million - just two weeks after it was launched.
The petition, which is now the fifth most signed in UK Parliamentary history, reads: "Government should support vulnerable children and #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing three recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals and activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger, and increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme.
"Covid-19 has been tough on us all but Government should ensure children don't pay the price.
"Fourteen percent of parents and 10 percent of children have experienced food insecurity over the last six months.
"Thirty-two percent of families have lost income as a result of Covid-19.
"Demand for food banks this winter is predicted to be 61 percent higher than last.
"With the Child Food Poverty Taskforce, I am calling for Government to allocate money to:
"1) Expand free school meals to all under-16s where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefit.
"2) Provide meals and activities during all holidays.
"3) Increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to at least £4.25 per week, and expand the scheme."
The petition will now be debated in parliament after picking up well over the require 100,000 for it to be heard.
Twenty-two-year-old Rashford has been awarded an MBE for his hard work tackling food poverty in children.
As the petition hit the impressive milestone, Anna Taylor, Executive Director of the Food Foundation, said: "The petition shows just how many citizens want a lasting solution to child hunger.
"The Government must act without delay and implement the three recommendations in the National Food Strategy."
Dev Sharma, 15, from Leicester, a Right2Food Young Food Ambassador, said: "We have been campaigning for over three years now to get the Government to address this crisis that so many young people are facing across the UK.
"Today we have Marcus Rashford and one million people standing together demanding change.
"Young people deserve access to a healthy and affordable diet all year around regardless of where they live or what background they come from."