Several local cafes, takeaways and restaurants in Newton-le-Willows and Earlestown have been quick to offer to feed any disadvantaged children at risk of going hungry over the coming half term holiday.
The generous offers were made by businesses and local organisations following a vote in the houses of Parliament this week in which MPs decided they would not extend the free school meal offer to struggling families over the half term holiday.
Since then, there has been an outcry with celebrities and politicians backing footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child hunger in England.
And the generous offers from our local businesses come at a time when they themselves are grappling with the impact that Tier 3 covid restrictions might have on them.
What is being offered?
Verona Kitchen and bar on Newton High Street have pledged their support, saying that any families having difficulty feeding their children this half term should contact them to book a table or request a takeout for their child at no cost.
Business for Youth have been in contact with local schools and will be providing food parcels to help families in need to make up children’s lunches this week.
What’s Cookin in Earlestown are offering children’s meals for any child who normally receives free school meals. Available from 11am – 2pm Monday 26 October – Friday 30 October.
Newton Deli on will be offering a free breakfast barm to disadvantaged children each day during half term. There will also be a selection of fresh fruit and drinks available for families to help themselves, with no purchase necessary.
Amans in Newton will be offering free food for children aged 4 – 16, or anyone struggling to put food on their table. This will be from Tuesday 27 October until Friday 6 November, and as they are not open for lunch, will be at the later time of 5.30pm – 6.30pm.
Riddling Rack are offering free kids lunches or early teas to anyone who needs them, and a free hot drink for the parents, too.
Shakey J’s are giving away 20 Movie Night boxes to local children each day of the half term – all delivered to your door. They ask you inbox their Facebook page for more details.
The Oak Tree in Newton-le-Willows is making up free packed lunches for kids to take out from Monday-Friday 26 – 30 October between 11am-12pm.
Meanwhile, Hair Couture on Wargrave Road is offering free hair cuts for school children on the 2, 3 and 4 November, from 10am – 3pm. Message the salon on Facebook to book your slot.
Do you know of any other businesses joining in?
Let us know in the comments and we’ll add the details above.
St Helens Council is doing its bit, too
Our local council has also been vocal about the need to support struggling families this half term, and has chosen to give food vouchers to eligible families who would normally receive free school meals – despite the decision of central Government not to do so.
Vouchers to the value of £15 a week per child will be provided by the council digitally or by hard copy form.
In addition, the council has over the last month distributed a total of 1,449 isolation food parcels to pupils self-isolating as a result of coronavirus who are eligible for free school meals.
St Helens Library Service is also playing its part in supporting families facing financial hardship by accepting foodbank donations at Chester Lane, Eccleston, Newton-le-Willows, Parr and St Helens libraries.
St Helens Borough Council Leader, Councillor David Baines, said: “Any right-thinking person finds the thought of a child going hungry completely unacceptable, and would agree that we need to do whatever we can to tackle child hunger and poverty. It should be unimaginable in this day and age.
“As a council we have done all we can to support all residents during these uncertain times, and we are determined to do what is needed to help those children and families who need a hand.”