Over 70 places offering free food or meals for kids this half term including Morrisons and Co-op
SUPERMARKETS, restaurants, cafe's and councils across the UK are all stepping up to help provide free meals this half term.
The UK government rejected pleas to extends free schools meals over the break, despite campaigning led by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.
But now, Britain's businesses are plugging the gap and supporting vulnerable families by offering free food.
McDonald's led the charge by donating funding to provide a million meals to families in need through charity FareShareUK.
Now, Morrisons supermarkets have joined the national effort, donating 15,000 lunchboxes across the the UK.
Morrisons staff will prepare 30 lunch boxes in each of their 498 stores this half-term.
The lunchboxes will be distributed daily to local food banks and schools so they can get them to school children in need. The lunch box includes a freshly made sandwich, a piece of fruit and a Soreen snack pack.
Morrisons is offering customers the option to support the effort by buying ‘Pick Up Packs’, which will be distributed to young people.
The packs’ cost between £1 and £5 and contain a nutritionally balanced mix of food products that have been requested by local food banks and schools according to their needs.
The pre-packed parcels are available at the front of all Morrisons stores and are paid for at the checkout. The pack is then put aside for delivery to those in need.
The Co-op has also pledged to provide free school meal vouchers for more than 5,000 vulnerable children at schools in the Co-op Academies Trust.
Each eligible child will get a £20 voucher towards food over the October break.
The Co-op's CEO Steve Murrells also wrote an open letter urging the government to provide free school meal funding through half term.
Vietnamese chain Pho has pledged to give away 6,000 free meals for half term.
Starting at midday today, each restaurant will give out 50 meals a day with veggie fried rice and a piece of fresh fruit.
These lunches will be available at the front of restaurants for people who need them.
The Qoot chain of restaurants is also offering free school meals across its chain of restaurants in London, including by CHLOE and The Lebanese Bakery venues.
Kids can get a free main meal, side and drink before 1pm on presentation of benefits documents.
And the Big Smoke Brewery, which has pubs throughout Surbiton, Kingston, Hammersmith, Weybridge, Chichester and Wokingham is donating 1,000 free meals to families that need them. To order, email [email protected]
Frozen food retailer, Iceland, isn't doing free school meals, but it is offering £1 bags of vegetables free to parents with a Healthy Start voucher. It also says it will be doing in-store promotions to help parents through half term.
Asda has also announced that it’s donating almost £100k to provide families with access to food during the school holidays.
The donation given to Asda’s dedicated Community Champions in 387 stores and can be spent on food for groups that are providing services to children during half term.
This is in addition to the Asda Foundation’s Healthy Holiday grants, which have been running for several years. These grants – which are worth up to £1,000 each – are designed to help charities and local groups provide healthy holiday activities, including nutritious meals and support services for mental health and wellbeing.
Local councils are also announcing measures to help struggling parents through the half-term break.
For instance, Greater Manchester is giving out over 1,000 vouchers entitling young people to a Co-op meal deal.
Meanwhile, Greenwich is distributing free meals via a mobile kitchen.
Make sure you check your local council websites for details of what is available near you,
Football clubs are also doing their bit to make sure children have access to food this week.
Manchester United football club is distributing 5,000 cooked meals to local school children as part of its partnership with Fairshare.
Luton Town is providing 250 meals per day, Pinchbeck United is offering both a breakfast in the morning and a hot meal in the afternoon and Chatham Town is offering free meals at the club or by delivery.
Hundreds of local business have also promised to give away free meals throughout the next week, with some pledging help in the Christmas holidays too.
To find somewhere near you offering half term meals there is a useful map that shows all the businesses that have announced their plans.
Businesses offering free school meals
HERE’S some of the restaurants and cafes we’ve seen that are offering free school meals this half term.
- Aubergine Cafe, Birkenhead – fill in a form to claim
- Ate Days a Week, Manchester – up to two free children's meals if you buy an adult's meal
- Athena B, Portslade – one meal per day per child, up to three meals per household, Monday to Thursday
- Ava Rose Hamilton Boutiques, Lancashire – free packed lunches from Tuesday
- Babul's of Barnard Castle, County Durham – 1,500 free meals available
- Baker's Tea Room, Manchester – free grab bags available from 12pm if you call or message
- Barrow Community Kitchen, Barrow – distributing free meals in schools
- Barrow foodbank, Barrow – Voucher system for lunches. Anyone without a voucher can call direct: 01229 343436
- Belluno Italian Restaurant, Bideford – complimentary Monday-Friday lunchtime takeaway children's pasta with a pudding – email to arrange collection
- Berry's Tea Room, Brampton – message for free kids' meals
- Born and Bred Cafe – free pack lunches available everyday from 9am-3pm
- Bowring Park Cafe, Telford – free lunches will be available Monday – Friday 11.30am – 2pm.
- Bucks Students' Union – free hot meals for kids
- Burton Albion Football Club – 100 packed lunches per day
- Four Ways Cafe and Sandwich Bar, Manchester – call or message to arrange a meal
- The Birchwood Centre, West Lancashire – free packed lunches
- Castle Beach cafe, Falmouth – free lunch bags
- Cathy's hot and cold takeaway, Birkenhead – lunch bags for kids
- Chippy chippy, Holyhead – help for children's meals for any families struggling
- Royal Greenwich council – holiday meals mobile kitchen
- Count House Cafe, Cornwall – offering help to struggling families
- Delphine Fish and Chips, Heeley – free meals for kids
- Doncaster Council – £15 voucher for kids on free school meals
- Dukes Head, Great Yarmouth – 20 packed lunches per day
- EJB Buffets and Banquets, Birmingham – free packed lunches
- El Bar De Tapas, Stevenage – hot lunches ready for collection between 11am and 12pm on Monday through to Friday.
- En Root, London – providing free school meals through half term
- Elite on the Bail, Lincoln – will feed any child under 16 from our childrens menu for free Tuesday – Friday
- Farm Fresh UK, Nottingham, free lunches including a sausage roll or cob
- Flissy Coffee Shop, Birkenhead – message for a free school meal
- Gastrono-me, Bury St Edmunds – hot meal from Monday 26 – Friday 30. Call 01284277980 and ask to collect a ‘half term meal’ which includes Mac n Cheese with salad or a toasted sandwich with a salad.
- Goodmans, Hastings – delivering free packed lunches
- Greater Manchester council – providing 1,000 vouchers eligible for a Co-op meal deal
- Greenfields Farm Shop, Telford – a sandwich box with a piece of fruit for children, free of charge, in the school holidays.
- Hammersmith and Fulham Council – giving every pupil in need a free meal voucher
- Handsworth Inn, Sheffield – packed lunches Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- Hawthrone Warrington, Warrington – lunch packs for children Mon – Fri from 1pm – 3pm
- Horse & Jockey, Melling – arrange packed lunches by phone
- Jennys Cafe, Brackley – a hot children’s meal from our menu tree of charge
- Jo's place, Wilmslow – message to place a packed lunch order
- Jordan's Café, Worthing – free takeaway meals
- Khandoker, Didsbury, DM for a hot meal
- Kimbles, Billingham, a free evening meal to any child who is on free school meals.
- Kingfisher fish and chips, Kingston-Upon-Hull – message for a free hot meal
- Kuti's Brasserie, Southampton – free hot meals to any child from 12-2:30pm
- La Rondine, Bedford – free pasta al forno for kids under 16
- Manjaros Restaurant, Middlesbrough – free essentials for any family living in the Middlesbrough area
- Mumtaz, Leeds – free chicken or vegetable biryani Tuesday to Sunday
- Number Seven, Birkenhead – free food parcels members with children. These will include bread, cheese, ham, milk, cereal, fruit, veg, pizza, nuggets, beans, chips and a few other items.
- Old School Room, next to St James The Less Church, Rawtenstall – Free packed lunches
- Oliver's, Haslemere – 2pm – 4pm Monday to Friday free sandwiches and a coffee for mum or dad.
- Pabna Restaurant, Staffordshire – Give them a call or send a private message and they will support with dropping off food parcels
- Peggotty's Lounge Bar & Tapas, Great Yarmouth – free hot meals and wi-fi
- Redbridge Council – funding free school meals over half term and Christmas
- Richmond Rugby Club, Richmond – free nutritional meal during half-term
- Ruddi's Retreat, Huddersfield = DM the Facebook page for free packed lunch
- Seaford Town FC – free lunches to children on free school meals over half term
- SEVEN BRO7HERS Brewing Co and SIS4ERs Distiller, Manchester – The packed lunches will be available from Monday to Friday, 10am-12pm from SEVEN BRO7HERS beer house, Middlewood Locks. The beer house will also be providing hot soup to parents and carers.
- Swiss Cottage Cafe, Devon – Packed lunch (sandwich, crips, fruit) for children on FSM – no purchase needed
- The Courtyard Cafe, Wigan – breakfast, dinner or early tea from Tuesday
- The Crown Inn, Bristol – free hot meals and free lunches
- The Gilt Rooms, Colchester – 12pm – 2:30pm Tuesday to Saturday hot meal
- The Handsworth Inn, Sheffield – FSM lunches on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- The Village Fish Bar, Preston – offering each school age child a free meal each lunch time with a choice of; sausage and chips, chips and gravy or chips and curry sauce. Free meals available Tuesday – Friday, 11:30am – 1:30pm.
- Toast 2 Roast, St Helens – Any child welcome to enjoy a free Together Meal with hot collection options and cold delivery
- Union Arms – Greater Manchester – free packed lunches and free child's meal with a paid adult meal to eat in.
- Vutie Beets, Letchworth Garden City – free meals for kids aged 4-16
- Warren's Fruit and Veg, Rickmansworth – free fruit and veg
- Whitley Bait Sandwich and Coffee Bar – providing lunches till it closes for Christmas
To find more local places offering free school meals this half term, check this interactive map as well as social media channels including Marcus Rashford's Twitter feed.
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