Zayn Malik Campaigns to End Child Hunger with New Merch: "I Relied on Free School Meals"
Zayn Malik is following in the footsteps of footballer Marcus Rashford and campaigning to end child hunger in the UK. The former One Direction singer has released two new pieces of merchandise on his site, including a Short-sleeved Tshirt ($45) and a Long-sleeved Tshirt ($55), with 100 percent of the profits going to Feeding Britain.
The navy tops includes Malik's autograph and a distressing stat: "In September 2022 the levels of food insecurity among households with children rose to 26% this represents a total of 4 million children". He posted a snap of the merch alongside an old school photo on 21 Nov. on Instagram, with the hashtag #freeschoolmeals.
This follows Malik's personal letter, urging the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to expand the initiative to every child living in poverty in the UK. The singer posted the letter on his Instagram on 8 Nov. to "ask for your help to ensure no child living in poverty misses out on a hot nutritious meal at school especially since that school meal may be the only hot meal they receive all day."
Yet, this is not just another celebrity jumping on the cost-of-living crisis bandwagon in a bid to appear worthy, this is personal for Malik. His letter also addressed the shame many children feel as they are not able to afford lunch, and went on to read: "I know what that shame feels like, I have seen it first-hand, as growing up in Bradford, I relied on Free School Meals. I personally experienced the stigma surrounding food insecurity."
Malik urged the PM to extend free school meals to families on Universal Credit at this difficult time. "No parent should have to make impossible decisions like whether to buy food, turn on the heating, or go into debt", he wrote. While his letter was widely praised, some questioned whether a social media statement was enough. Now, Malik has gone a step further, using his platform and profile to release merchandise that aims provide more meals and end the stigma of hunger and poverty. While advertised in dollars, as Malik lives in the USA, the tshirts can be delivered worldwide.
Despite Malik's pleas to the government, the autumn budget, announced on 17 Nov., failed to extend free school meals to more children. As winter looms and further families face financial constraints, it looks as though we will have to rely on celebrities like Malik to feed the nation's children over the government.