In October 2020 news broke that the Government were not funding Free School Meals during the half-term holiday, despite many families having a reduced income due to COVID (either being on furlough or on zero-hours contracts to shuttered businesses). The footballer Marcus Rashford, himself no stranger to food poverty as a child, took up the cause on social media. Rapidly, organisations and companies stepped forward to tweet offers of help. These tweets were gathered together and it was suggested a map to help find the nearest meal offer would be helpful. The TechForUK team stepped up and set up AllOfUsTogether, with the ablity for ogranisations to add themselves and details of the meals offered to a map, initially a simple Google map then a searchable, zoomable version.
The map and site was featured in news coverage of the issue, was promoted by Marcus Rashford and many others and eventually had over 2,000 places offering meals or food for families and children. From the information received from the 250 meals suppliers who responded to our request for data on meals supplied during the half-term week, we know that 60,000 plus were fed – if that is averaged up, then it is probable that nearly half a million meals were supplied by those organisations on our map.
A tremendous result, and pressure that meant there was Government provision in place over the Christmas holidays and beyond. All Of Us Together continues to amplify messages about ending child food poverty and supporting other community initiatives – you can follw them on Twitter