Please sign this: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/554276
Tomorrow, I could say that I’m going to miss lunch. Maybe I’m busy, maybe it’s for a challenge that I’ll film and put on YouTube, maybe it’s because I don’t have the money to pay for it.
I could have a big breakfast and then my dinner, and even a snack if I needed. But if money is a problem, it’s not just lunches I’ll be missing. Surely if the reason I’m missing out the middle meal of the day is down to my circumstances, I’ll also be missing the first and the last, and maybe even the snack also.
If I was a child, and with my circumstances I can’t afford any of the above, I won’t eat for the day. Maybe even the week, or the month, or my whole childhood.
School meals are a blessing. To most, it’s the middle meal of the day, keeping you going until you’re back home. But for some children, it’s everything. The only meal that they’ll be sure to get.
Free school meals not being given to children over the holidays is an awful thought, but one that’s a reality. How would you feel if you ate your lunch on a Friday, but then knew that you wouldn’t be able to eat again until Monday? Now imagine a week, two weeks, and now the Summer holidays. Sometimes we can’t go a few hours without our tummy rumbling, imagine being a child and having that sick, hungry feeling for weeks.
We can give to foodbanks, donate money to charities who will help, but that’s not the point. The UK is a rich, fortunate country, so why are we letting our children, our most vulnerable, starve? The government may say it’s just one meal being missed a day. Just a simple lunch. But it’s not just that. To the people it feeds, it’s all the food for that day. The first, the last, and everything in between.
The people who need free school meals often don’t want to be in that position. They want to be able to give their child the world like every parent does, but not everyone is always that fortunate. Parents may be on benefits, and the money isn’t always enough. This means that parents can go hungry just to be able to give their children the small amount that they have. People may look like they have the latest phone or the biggest TV, but those may have been bought before jobs were lost, circumstances changed, or benefits were even looked into. You cannot judge people in this way, and worst of all, you cannot judge their children. They have no part or say, so why are we refusing them food and help?
To know that the children at the school down the road may be hungry is an awful feeling. To sit in the House of Commons, watching the clock, knowing that you can queue at a Pret, eat in the subsidised restaurant or have something delivered to the office for your lunch, whilst the people you’re meant to be caring for are going without is an awful feeling. But it’s even more awful to know that our government are not doing anything about it.