A restaurant in south Manchester is providing hot meals to local families who are struggling during lockdown.
Rustik in West Didsbury announced this week that it would be providing families with breakfast boxes free of charge.
The restaurant began a similar scheme in October when the government announced it would not be providing free school meals over half-term.
The decision to relaunch the scheme comes amid outrage from parents across the country over the food packages provided as an alternative to free school meals now that schools have been closed.
Marcus Rashford, who led the charge against the government’s decision in October which resulted in a U-turn, has criticised the food parcels, claiming they are: “just not good enough”.
Ella Routledge, manager at Rustik, said: “When we found out in October we ran a breakfast club where people could come in the morning and receive a free breakfast on us.
“Obviously with this lockdown, we’ve decided to do food packages that families can come and collect, or we can drop it off if they can’t get it themselves.
“We put stuff in there that should cover a minimum of three days.
“We’ve been trying to get in touch with suppliers to see if there’s anything they’ve been wasting that we could have and donate.”
When asked about the government’s recent handling of free school meal provisions, she said: “I don’t really think that the government cares enough, to be honest. It shouldn’t be down to local business to provide families with food off our own back, but we’ll always try and help in whatever way we can”.
“I don’t think the government has an inkling as to what it’s like at the minute for ordinary people.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson called the contents of the free school meals parcels “unacceptable” and Chartwells, the firm responsible, has apologised.
Rustik has said any struggling local families should contact them at [email protected]
By George Crafer