Nov 9th, 2020
Free school meals: We won!
Incredible news! The government has finally agreed to provide £170 million to feed children on free school meals this Christmas. They’ve even promised to extend this to the Easter, summer and Christmas school holidays in 2021 as well.
It was only a few weeks ago that MP’s voted to reject Marcus Rashford’s call to feed hungry children over school holidays. The government refused to back down, arguing they had already done enough and hoping we would give up and do nothing. But that’s not the kind of people we are.
Instead, we built a movement up and down England of parents, teachers, people down the road, people hundreds of miles away, people who know what it’s like to go to bed hungry as a child. Together we decided it was time to say enough.
38 Degrees members played an important role in making sure children won’t go hungry this winter:
- We emailed MPs who voted against free school meals in our tens of thousands, asking them to change their mind – and their vote.
- We sent thousands of messages straight to Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling on them to do the right thing and find the money to make sure kids don’t go hungry this winter.
- Over a million people signed a petition demanding that we stop subsidising MPs’ meals while children go hungry.
- We launched a massive social media and press campaign to amplify the movement across England.
- We showed our support by hanging posters in all of our windows, amping up pressure on local MPs who voted against free school meals.
Moments like this are why 38 Degrees exist. You don’t have to be a celebrity with a huge following, you don’t need to have lots of cash, or lots of time. You can make a difference by simply working together with millions of other people who care. This victory won’t end child poverty, it won’t solve every problem families are facing right now. But it couldn’t be more important.
A week ago, the poorest children in England were going to spend Christmas hungry. Today is a day to celebrate how millions of people came together to make sure they don’t, and how you were one of them. It’s a day to be proud.
There is still work to be done, but at 38 Degrees, we know that we can do it together.