THE manager of an Oswestry-based foodbank believes England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford has been 'a breath of fresh air' for highlighting the importance of child food poverty.

Liz Jermy, manager of Oswestry and Borders Foodbank in Beatrice Street, praised Mr Rashford for using his high profile to speak about such an important issue.

She has also been impressed by the reaction of businesses and charities across the country to offer their support to Mr Rashford’s motion after it was voted down in the House of Commons last week.

The 22-year-old England international is calling for free school meals to be extended over the half-term break and at Christmas.

Liz believes Mr Rashford’s efforts in tackling child food poverty will inspire more people to help where possible.

She said: “The number of emails I have had over the last few weeks, and particularly at the weekend, from people who were outraged by the decision made to not provide free school meals over the half-term period, was a lot.

“I think anybody who has a high profile and can use that for good, like Mr Rashford is doing, is positive.

“To be able to say ‘I know what that feels like, I want to say something about it’, is great and motivates people to respond.

“He has been in a situation which so many people are in and had that anxiety of not knowing what’s coming.

“A lot of people can identify with that hardship.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Liz says there has been a steady stream of donations being made to the foodbank in Oswestry and has been overwhelmed by the continued support.

“Our donations have continued to come in from the March lockdown at a steady rate,” she said.

“Because it is now Harvest time, we have had the help of schools and churches bringing big amounts of food as well.

“It’s just amazing and we’re so humbled by the generosity of the community – we’ve not had a dip in giving since the beginning of the pandemic, which we are very grateful for.

“I just want to say thank you to the giving community here who have continued to be amazing.

“We’re facilitators and we can’t do it without people donating to us. Every day people are offering their help and it’s absolutely wonderful.

“Also a huge thank you to our volunteers who are so helpful and cheerful.”

Mr Rashford’s stand against child food poverty has seen businesses and charities offering their support to families in need across the country, including some businesses locally.

Liz added: “It’s just wonderful to see communities rising up and saying we want to be part of the solution.

“So while we may feel strongly about what is happening nationwide and the decisions made by the government, I feel the response from the communities is fantastic.

“That can only benefit the whole community, and if that raises the profile of these businesses and charities, then that’s great.

“It’s beneficial for everyone and the end result is that children are getting food that they need.

“We don’t do packed lunches and meals – we’re delivering a different service and what we’re delivering covers the whole demographic.”