A tea room has refused to allow an MP to help them pack children’s lunches after he voted against providing meals to kids in poverty over the school holidays.
Curiositea tea rooms, in Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire, shared a screenshot of an email they received asking if Tory MP, Greg Smith, could visit the cafe.
The email said Smith was hoping to help staff prepare meals for distribution, after the tea rooms pledged to feed disadvantaged children over the October half-term break. The cafe said it was ‘overwhelmed’ trying to feed 44 children this week.
Smith was one of 322 MPs who voted against a Labour motion to provide food vouchers to struggling families.
It prompted thousands of volunteers, hard-hit cafes, restaurants, pubs, charities and local councils to step in and feed hungry children, following a campaign by Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.
A screengrab of the email, posted on Curiositea’s Facebook page, read: ‘Greg has passed your details to me to arrange for him to visit the tea room this Friday.
‘I can slot a visit in between 9.30 – 11.00 on Friday 30th while he is visiting would it be possible for him to help get the meals ready for distribution, or help with delivery.’
Alongside the email, the tea rooms posted a screenshot of an article naming Smith as one of the Tory MPs who rejected Labour and Rashford’s bid.
The tea rooms wrote: ‘We don’t want to get into politics, we’re a small coffee shop in the heart of the community, but we believe no child should go hungry!
‘But this did make us laugh, it’s a no from us!!! TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER XXX’.
Smith told Metro.co.uk: ‘A constituent wrote to me asking me to visit the cafe, which I was very happy to do. I would like to thank the cafe for their work and wish them well.
‘No one should go hungry, which is why I support the £1,040 increase in Universal Credit and the government’s £356,000 grant to Buckinghamshire Council to directly support those unable to put food on their table which they are delivering this half term through the “Helping Hand” scheme.’
Despite the hospitality industry facing unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, Curiositea was one of thousands to urge struggling families to contact them for free meals, adding: ‘Don’t be embarrassed, times are tough we’re all in this together’.
Two days later they said they have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the amount of families needing support and had taken on 44 children to feed daily.
They said they wanted to help more but could not as it’s ‘physically impossible’, adding that they hope they can ‘make a difference’ to those they are supporting.
A petition launched by Rashford calling on the Government to U-turn on its decision over free meals over the school holidays has since hit 1,000,000 signatures.
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