World Offers of free food to needy English children put government in awkward spot
'We needed some food': Seven months into pandemic, families struggle to meet basic needs
With more federal relief funds looking unlikely, parents already living in poverty like Kaneadsha Jones wonder how they can hold things together.The pressure of it all — the hunger, the constant worrying, the desperation to find some stability — was crushing. Some days, she struggled to get out of bed.
By Estelle Shirbon
LONDON (Reuters) - Businesses and charities across England offered free meals for children on Monday, in a public relations fiasco for the Conservative government which voted last week not to provide food vouchers for poor families during a school holiday.
Some 1.3 million children are eligible for free lunches at schools in England. Following a campaign by a soccer star to provide extra support during the coronavirus crisis, the government gave their families food vouchers for the summer school holiday. But last week it voted not to do the same during a weeklong school break at the end of October.
Death of an Infant Shows Cruelty of Starving in a Country of Food Abundance
Millions are being locked out of India’s ration-card system that provides cheap food.She and her husband struggled to make even 1 rupee (1 cent) a day from their tailoring business after India went into a Covid-19 lockdown in March. They often have nothing to eat. Nafisa was breast-feeding little Aaris, and with hardly any food for herself, she simply couldn’t produce enough milk. He grew weak, and his skin yellowed with jaundice. Hungry and in pain, he sobbed and howled. He died in his mother’s arms just a few weeks into the lockdown, at four months old.
Family-run cafes, fish and chip shops, bakeries, pubs, football clubs, hotels and a Sikh temple are among businesses, charities and places of worship that have since responded by announcing plans to give away meals.
"We haven't got much money but we are not prepared to stand back and worry about children not getting a meal over half-term," said the Oceans of Fun soft play centre in the city of Nottingham, offering eligible children free hot or cold meals.
The nation's food banks are being hit on three fronts as another wave of the pandemic approaches
With Covid-19 cases expected to surge in the colder months, a critical line of defense against hunger hangs in the balance. The percentage of people without access to adequate food has doubledLines at food banks across the country have gotten longer since March -- and many of the people in them haven't needed assistance before.About 10.5% of US households were food insecure -- meaning that they had limited or uncertain access to adequate food -- at some point in 2019, according to a report published by the US Department of Agriculture last month. That number has more than doubled during the pandemic.
Marcus Rashford, a 22-year-old Manchester United soccer forward who has spoken of sometimes going hungry as a child, has spearheaded the campaign.
"Those who have rallied around our communities, please continue to do so, you are the real pride of Britain," he said, using his Twitter feed to publicise dozens of offers of free food. A petition he launched on Oct. 15 to end child food poverty in Britain had attracted close to 900,000 signatures.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the government, saying it was providing support through other means such as an increase in welfare benefits and funding for local goverments.
"We will do everything in our power to make sure that no kid, no child goes hungry this winter during the holidays," Johnson said, describing Rashford's efforts as "terrific".
"The debate is how do you deal with it," Johnson said.
Under pressure from angry constituents, several Conservative lawmakers have broken ranks and called for a rethink.
(Additional reporting by Kate Holton)
Righties Wilmer Font, Artie Lewicki sign with KBO's SK Wyverns .
SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization announced the signings of right-handers Wilmer Font and Artie Lewicki to one-year contracts.Font chose free agency after being outrighted off the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster at the end of the season. The 30-year-old had a rough time over 16 1/3 innings in 2020, posting a 9.92 ERA and nine walks over that limited sample size. Font has a 5.54 ERA in 144 2/3 innings since the start of the 2018 season, but some inconsistency was perhaps inevitable since Font suited up for five different organizations in 2018-19.