The Fair and Square Campaign for free student meals is a campaign run by The Children’s Society. The goal is to give every child a free lunch meal to those that need one. These meals help those living in poverty who may not otherwise be able to afford lunches for their children, or who may have to use all of their free income in order to do so. Often, these free meals are the only nutritious food the children get all day. There are 1.2 million children in England that are not receiving a free meal despite being under the poverty line.
On February 12, the campaign turned in a petition to the government with 90,000 signatures. Even some celebrities have publicly given their support to the Fair and Square Campaign for free student meals. These celebrity supporters of the campaign include Kym Marsh, Melanie Chisholm, and Charlotte Church. This campaign has also gotten support from various churches, such as the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), which is part of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
There are many reasons that these churches have given their support. For example, it has been shown that having a meal during lunchtime has positive educational and health effects on the students. Plus, these free meals have the potential to lift the various families out of poverty entirely. An entire school year’s worth of lunches is about £370, or about $565 US. The Children’s Society estimates around 140,000 families have already been lifted out of poverty due to the free meals program. Further estimates show that 100,000 more would have the same benefit, if the government allowed children free meals even if their parents are working (but still remain in poverty).
In conclusion, the Fair and Square Campaign for free student meals program could potentially be implemented in other locations around the globe, especially in developed nations. This would have a larger, positive effect on global poverty and hunger.
– Corina Balsamo
Sources: The Children’s Society, Baptist Times, CSAN
Photo: Eugene School District