Feed the Bairns fundraiser by South Shields woman set up to support local food banks
A Go Fund Me page set up to support local food banks after Government voted not to extend the free school meal scheme over the half-term break has raised over £2,500.
Helen Rogers set up the fundraiser Feed the Bairns to raise funds to support five North East food banks.
The appeal was set up after a Labour motion to extend the free school meals scheme over school holidays until Easter 2021 was defeated last week.
The 40-year-old fundraiser said: “When I found out the outcome of the vote I was quite upset about it.
"I spoke to a couple of friends about it and it just progressed from there.
"I set up the Go Fund Me page and it took off really quickly in the first 24 hours.
"I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has donated. It’s a very difficult time for so many people but there has still been so much support.
"It’s just a shame that we are having to do this. The Government should always have something in place to support those who are vulnerable.
No child should have to go to bed a hungry stomach.”
Helen has received support from people and communities across the North East who have helped share the appeal.
So far more than £2,500 has been donated and will be split between five organisations: Sunderland Food Bank, Newcastle West End Food Bank, Gateshead Food Bank, South Tyneside Hospitality and Hope and The Bay Food Bank.
“We topped our target of £1,000 so quickly and we haven’t set a new one,” said Helen, who works at Hays Travel.
England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford vowed to keep campaigning to extend free school meals over the holidays after MPs voted against the measure on Wednesday.
He said in a statement shared on Twitter: “We must stop stigmatising, judging and pointing fingers. Our views are being clouded by political affiliation.
“This is not politics, this is humanity.”