UK How this café in Marcus Rashford's old back yard is helping kids this half-term last minute news
MetiNews.Com - Courtyard Cafe in Wythenshawe Park have had thousands of pounds worth of food dropped off by kind hearted locals as well as volunteers offering to give up their time and help after their opened their doors to needy families
Breaking News ! A café in Marcus Rashford's hometown of Wythenshawe have been inundated with donations after joining the star's scheme to provide struggling families with free meals. The Manchester United star has inspired the nation with his campaign to ensure families on living on the breadline who rely on free school meals are fed during the holidays. Tory MPs this week voted down a Labour proposal to extend free school meal vouchers over the October break. However over 1,000 businesses across the country have offered to step in and come forward with generous offers. One of those is the Courtyard Café in Wythenshawe Park who began offering both breakfasts and lunches on Monday to families who need them. And they say after announcing their plans last week they have already had thousands of pounds worth of food dropped off by kind hearted locals as well as volunteers offering to give up their time and help. They have set up a special window, running alongside their normal operation offering hot and cold meal options for people to discreetly collect and takeaway in both the morning and afternoon. Manager Andrea Fitzgerald, 46, said: "We saw lots of different types of businesses were doing it and being right in the heart of the park we thought we were ideally placed to help. Clare Byfield unpacks a donated bag of food. The cafe say they have had thousands of pounds worth dropped off already (Image: ABNM Photography) "We don't particularly want to get into the politics of it, we just thought it was a nice thing to do. "And the community has really come together. We've probably had thousands of pounds worth of stuff dropped off. "I think with Marcus being from the area people have really connected with it. "We've probably had around a dozen people drop by today. "We had one boy whose mum was isolating so he came and got something for his brothers and sisters. Read More Related Articles How to sign up to our newsletter to get the latest headlines from the M.E.N. Read More Related Articles 'We will miss him so much' - Parents of former Man City academy star Jeremy Wisten pay moving tribute "We aren't asking any questions people just come to order and we ask them what they would like, it's as simple as that." For breakfast there was sausages and beans as well as toast, crumpets and fruit on offer. Then at lunch there was pasta bolognese and cottage pie as well as sandwiches, crisps and fruit. The cafe are serving hot and cold breakfasts and lunches all week to any families who need them (Image: ABNM Photography) Clare Byfield, 43, gave up her day off to come and help unload produce as well as cook and serve meals. Clare, from Nothern Moor, who works a children's and family worker for four churches in South Manchester said: "I saw them appealing for volunteers on Facebook and I it was my day off so I thought I would come and help. "I live literally on the other side of the park so I know there a lot of families in this area who will be struggling right now.
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"We've had a few people who've come today who have seemed a little bit embarrassed at first but as soon as we've started chatting to them and they realise there's absolutely no judgement they have felt a lot more relaxed. "I have four kids myself. They are grown up now but my husband died suddenly 11 years ago and I remember really struggling myself at that time. "It can happen to anyone. "I think Marcus is an absolute star, a local hero. And I was so annoyed when the government didn't listen to him and extend the scheme. It's them who should be providing this ultimately."
Local schoolgirl Lucy Dalglish, 15, is one of the volunteers who has give up her time to help
(Image: ABNM Photography)
Local schoolgirl Lucy Dalglish was also helping out after learning about the initiative whilst on a visit to the park last week. The Manchester Health Academy pupil, 15 said: "We on holidays ourselves and I thought this would be a good use of my time off. "It's a great idea to help people. "Marcus is very cool. He went to my school so we've been talking a lot about what he's been doing.
"We've had so many donations it's been crazy." Due to the scale of the response Andrea says she hopes they will be able to offer food hampers and a scheme around the next school holidays near Christmas.
Andrea (centre) pictured with volunteers Clare (left) and Lucy (right) says she hopes to have enough food to run a scheme during the next school holiday
(Image: ABNM Photography)
Rashford, 22, raised in Wythenshawe, this week began sharing pledges of free food from both businesses and councils via his Twitter account. Now a Manchester-based digital agency, Silverchip, has launched a website schoolmealfinder.org to help families find their nearest venue. The website allows users to put in their postcode and it will return the 25 nearest businesses offering free meals during the holidays. There is also an interactive map that allows users to explore the wider area. There are now around 1,000 businesses across the country listed on the website, and more are being added every hour as more pledges come in via Rashford's Twitter account.