Community spirit has been felt across Leeds this week as businesses have chosen to offer free meals to less fortunate children throughout half term.
This comes in response to the motion rejected by the Government last week, with 261 votes in favour and 322 against extending the free school meals across half term.
Indian restaurant, Mumtaz Leeds, is amongst one of these businesses showing their support by allowing any child aged between 4 and 16 to come and collect a free chicken or vegetarian biryani between selected times during half term.
Asad Arif, owner of Mumtaz Leeds said: “What it comes down to is genuinely raising awareness, just understanding that I’m in a fortunate position and I can do something to help others.
“You have to think what is important right now.”
After seeing the overwhelming reaction from those across the community Asad realised how much it means to people.
“It’s genuinely a game changer for people to know that there are others out there that will help them.
“It’s not about a hot meal, it’s about knowing that there are humans out there.”
Many across social media have expressed their support towards these businesses’ actions.
Boris Johnson has defended the rejection of an extension of the free school meals scheme, which proposed providing free school meals over the holidays in England.
The Prime Minister said that they will “do everything in our power to make sure that no kid, no child goes hungry”.
Anna, owner of Trattoria Il Forno, a pizza restaurant in Horsforth, Leeds has also joined this initiative by offering up to 40 nine-inch Margherita pizzas daily to eligible children completely free of charge between selected times throughout this week.
Although businesses like Trattoria Il Forno are supporting their community in this way, there are still concerns that it should be the Government who looks after the most vulnerable.
Anna said: “if not for food banks, the community and charities, it would be very hard for those families.”
Garry Lemon, director of policy and research at the Trussell Trust (who support food banks across the country), said: “This last week, we’ve seen the power there is in people coming together to call for change. We must harness this power and this compassion and push for long-term solutions in our social security system. This can change.”