Mark Waugh - AP Credit: Fareshare


The Covid-19 pandemic has left approximately 80% of low-income families in a worse financial state than before the outbreak of the crisis. Now well into the third lockdown, Marcus Rashford’s campaign to tackle child food poverty has been vital for kids across the country.

Some of the UK’s largest supermarkets have partnered with food banks as part of their corporate responsibility to provide aid for struggling families.

Tesco has announced its commitment to Marcus Rashford’s campaign by offering free school meals to any child that needs it. Working in partnership with The Trussell Trust since 2012, Tesco has said it would provide a top-up donation of £15 million of food over a 12-week period.

Sainsbury’s has also extended its food donation scheme, in partnership with food waste charity FareShare that recently went digital. In late August, Sainsbury’s said customers can make an online donation to FareShare as part of their regular shop.

Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer said it has donated surplus food to over 950 charities and organisations, which includes 60 Trussell Trust foodbanks.

Lidl also donated to food banks only through its food distribution program Feed it Back, which involves the donation of edible surplus.

Leanne Mohamad, a 19 year-old volunteer at the Frenford Youth Club’s Mutual Aid food bank said that “it’s “no surprise that major UK supermarkets have shown their support for task-force recently set up by footballer Marcus Rashford.”

She added that the football star has been tackling this issue since the start of the pandemic when children weren’t provided financial support and free school meals at home. “It’s disgraceful that a footballer had to take matters into his own hands and hold the government to account,” she said.

Following the countries refusal to extend free school meals, Rashford has since then been setting his sights on ending child food poverty across the UK with a task force he formed with brands including Lidl, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Kellogg’s.

The task force urges the government to implement an expansion on free school meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit, extend holiday provision to support all children on free school meals, and increase the value of the Healthy Start vouchers scheme to £4.25 per week from £3.10.

This effort has since seen some of the UK’s largest grocers sign up in an attempt to pledge its support to children affected by food poverty, while also calling on MPs to carry out proposals from the National Food Strategy.