This winter, millions of children - and many other people - across the UK will face food poverty. This would be bad in normal circumstances, but with Covid-19 still wreaking havoc, it's all that much worse.
So if you want to help keep children fed this winter, here's an incentive: send me proof of a donation of £20 or more to one of the charities below, and I'll send you an A4 menu print of your choice, for free.
- - The Trussell Trust
- - FareShare
- - Any local UK food bank charity - find your nearest (must be a registered charity)
Here's how it works:
1: Donate £20 or more to one of the charities above, and take a screenshot (or photograph) of your donation receipt (MUST show the name of the charity, date of donation and donation amount).
2: Send the donation receipt to email@example.com along with your details, and the name of or link to the menu you want.
3: I'll send you an A4 print of your chosen menu within a few days.
4 (optional): Write to your MP, especially if your MP is a Conservative, and express your disapproval - politely, but firmly. This does actually make a difference.
This is valid until 31 October, and only for prints to be sent to the UK.
Why are you doing this?
Inspired by Marcus Rashford, and the incredible movement he's built up in the absence of any support from the government, I wanted to help. I'm not really in a position to provide food directly to people, as so many cafes and restaurants across England have offered to - so instead I've chosen to focus on financial support, for food banks and charities which help distribute food - this is, I believe the most efficient way of helping people get the nutrition they need.
No, but why are you doing this - shouldn't parents take responsibility for feeding their children?
There's a whole debate around this - and to some extent it is a valid one. But ultimately, whatever the wider issues, right here and now millions of children in this country will go to bed hungry each night unless they get some form of support. As the government has decided not to help, others have been forced to step in.
(One point to think about, though: Good childhood nutrition is vital for development, so depriving children of good nutrition - for whatever reason - will have the effect of causing issues when they are adults, thus helping to perpetuate the cycle of poverty. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has released a letter signed by 2,200 paediatricians making this point.)
But surely food banks should not be necessary, and this is something the government should do?
Yes. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE HAPPENING. But sadly, it is happening. And I feel I can't sit by and do nothing.
So donate your own money then.
I've made donations to The Trussell Trust, FareShare and the B30 Food Bank in Birmingham. I'm happy to provide receipts for all three donations to anyone who wants to see them.
Why are you getting political?
I don't believe that preventing children in one of the richest countries in the world from being malnourished is political. If you disagree, that's on you.
I can't support your business any more because of this.
What else can I do to help?
Other than donating, or supporting cafes and restaurants which are helping - at one of the most perilous times for them, no less - then raising support, writing to your MP, talking to people (politely!) about the issue can help enormously.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
- Eliot, Love Menu Art UK