UNICEF has launched an emergency response to feed children  affected due to COVID-19 in the UK, a first in 70 years, Guardian reported on Wednesday.

The UN agency said the coronavirus pandemic was the most urgent crisis affecting children since the second world war.

UNICEF will grant 

£25,000 to the community project ‘School Food Matters’, where the money will go into the supply of 18,000 nutritious breakfasts to 25 schools over the two-week Christmas holidays and February half-term.

The measure will benefit the vulnerable population of Southwark in south London.

“We’re so grateful to UNICEF for providing this timely funding. The response to our summer breakfast boxes programme has shown us that families are really struggling and many were facing the grim reality of a two-week winter break without access to free school meals and the indignity of having to rely on food banks to feed their children”, Guardian quoted Stephanie Slater, the founder and chief executive of School Food Matters.

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“Our breakfast boxes programme has also shown us that the threshold for free school meal eligibility is too low to capture all the families in need of support. That’s why we’re getting behind the national food strategy call for an extension to free school meal eligibility,” she added.  

Some politicians, though welcomed the move, didn’t let the opportunity go to lambast the Conservative Party government for its inability to provide for its chidren.

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said: “The fact that Unicef is having to step in to feed our country’s hungry children is a disgrace and Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak should be ashamed.

“We are one of the richest countries in the world. Our children should not have to rely on humanitarian charities that are used to operating in war zones and in response to natural disasters.

“Charities and businesses across the country have done a brilliant job stepping in where the government has failed, but it should have never come to this.”

Another fellow party member echoed Rayner, when he said that the government chose the poverty by deciding against taxing the rich more. 

Labour MP Richard Burgon tweeted: “Britain is one of the world’s richest nations. Unicef, for the first time ever, is now delivering emergency food to children here.

“Poverty is a political choice. The Gov’t could end UK child poverty by making the super-rich pay fair taxes. It refuses to.”