Poverty-relief charity in India opens up UK kitchen amid free school meals row

A charity that feeds millions of disadvantaged children in India has launched its first food kitchen in England amid growing concerns around food poverty affecting low-income families.

Akshaya Patra feeds up to 1.8 children in India each day as it looks to tackle hunger and malnutrition among young people.

But amid growing public concern about the plight of children in the UK facing hunger, the charity has launched its first kitchen in the UK to ensure children do not go hungry out of term time.

A Labour Party motion to extend free school meals out of term time to children in low income families was defeated this month following government opposition.

The motion was backed by footballer Marcus Rashford, who has linked up with anti-poverty charities in the UK to call on the government to do more to tackle food poverty.

Akshaya Patra said: “The UK has over 3 million children who are risk of hunger, especially during school holidays, when they do not receive their usual free school meal.”

It added that it has already served around 50,000 hot meals to children during school holidays over the last two years but these were provided at the kitchen of its affiliate partners.

Its new purpose built kitchen in London has been supported by the GMSP Foundation and will cook 9,000 meals a day.

“The menu is diverse like London’s population, nutrition-rich and always accompanied with a fruit. Crisps or packaged food high in sugar and salt never make to an Akshaya Patra meal,” added the charity.

This week it emerged that the Feeding Britain charity had removed all MPs from its trustees board following this month’s controversial vote on extending free school meals.

This followed one of its trustees, Conservative MP Jo Gideon, voting against Labour’s motion.

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