Children who would be entitled to a free school meal are to get a free meal by the owners of an Penrith chip shop during half term week.
Dan and David Harding, who run the Angel Lane Chippie, Penrith, as well as The Chippie Van, which tours around villages, have made the offer, after the government voted down a motion to extend free school meals over the holidays, up to and including the Easter break next year.
The Government declined to back the proposal, which was instigated by a campaign by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, by 322 votes to 261.
Angel Lane Chippie will between 11.30am and 2pm from Tuesday to Friday next week, offer anyone who would normally get a free school meal can approach the counter and ask for the school meal offer – “no questions asked.
“Because of social distancing, we are only allowing one person in the shop at a time,” said Dan. “There will be no embarrassment people might feel by asking. It will all be confidential.”
The same will apply when The Chippie Van visits Winskill, Plumpton, Lazonby and High Hesket from Tuesday to Friday next week of an evening.
“Poverty should not play any part in the UK but unfortunately it does,” said Dan, who is vice chairman of the Penrith Business Improvement District. “There are children in need in the Eden Valley whose families are on the poverty line and can’t necessarily afford to have three meals a day.
“It’s embarrassing that we need food banks in a country like this, there should not be any need. If the Government is not going to do their bit, we are going to step in and do what we can to ensure people don’t go hungry.
“The community supports us and we would like to support the community back.”