// Co-op to provide free lunches for 6500 students who normally receive government-funded free school meals
// Co-op will provide all students receiving free school meals at its 25 Co-op Academy schools
// Co-op urged government effort to help feed the 1.4m students who receive free school meals
The Co-op is to provide free lunches for 6500 students who normally receive government-funded free school meals at its 25 academies, should schools close due to coronavirus.
The Co-op said it would provide all students receiving free school meals at its 25 Co-op Academy schools, located in the north of England, with a £20 voucher to spend in Co-op food stores.
It added that that voucher was enough to cover a one-week unplanned closure.
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The Co-op urged the government to lead a nationwide effort to help feed the 1.4 million students who receive free school meals across the UK.
“For many children who receive free school meals, lunch at school is the main meal of the day, so if school closes unexpectedly they could go hungry,” Co-op Food chief executive Jo Whitfield said.
“We don’t think that’s fair on our students or their families who often struggle to keep food on the table, and it has an impact on the health and well-being of vulnerable families.
“So we’re making sure the students attending our 25 Co-op Academies won’t miss out, but we know this is a drop in the ocean when you consider there are 1.4 million kids on free school meals in this country.”
Two Co-op Academy schools are closing on Thursday as students, families and staff self-isolate as the pandemic worsens in the UK.
with PA Wires