West Cumbria's generosity has once again come to the fore, as youngsters will not go hungry thanks to the kindness of strangers.

After Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, Carlisle MP John Stevenson and Workington MP Mark Jenkinson voted against footballer Marcus Rashford’s bid for the meals scheme to be extended out of term time, along with 319 of their Conservative colleagues, the Cumbrian community is making sure all its children are fed this week.

And on Mirehouse, the caring spirit is certainly shining through.

Ward councillors Carl and Louise Walmsley have received an endless stream of donations to provide school children with meals, including £200 from Prospect Union Sellafield, supermarket gift vouchers from Whitehaven Amateurs Under 9s, food hampers from Lowca Rugby League Club, £200 from Bethany House, and 200 pints of milk from Mirehouse Post Office.

The estate’s Top of the Shops Cafe is also delivering hot meals to all who need them, Fraser’s Chip Shop in Whitehaven has donated 20 four-stone bags of potatoes and frozen food, and St Benedict’s Rugby Union Club is collecting and delivering food across the town – and the list goes on.

Coun Carl Walmsley said: “Both myself and Louise have worked hard for the community for a long time now, but we have never seen demand like this.

“It’s no secret the Whitehaven south ward has a really high poverty figure, [and] I strongly advise MP Trudy Harrison to maybe have a little look at them before voting on their behalf.”

He continued: “Mirehouse has again gone above and beyond – when the going gets tough, everyone just steps up and gets on with it.

“We simply can not express in words our gratitude to every single business and individual that helped make all this happen.

“I am 100 per cent confident nobody will be going hungry on our estate, and that makes us both sleep better at night.”

And it’s not just Mirehouse pulling together, as countless businesses are getting involved with the push for free meals, including Egremont’s Spuds & Co, The Sunny Hill and The Funhouse, both at Whitehaven, Flimby Sports and Social Club, Aspatria’s Dreamscheme and many more.

Deb Clarkson, owner of Spuds & Co, said the team simply wanted to help those who needed it - and have been overwhelmed by the response.

“We just didn’t think kids should be going hungry, it shouldn’t be happening, so we thought it would be a good thing to do,” she said.

“We’ve had youngsters coming in on their own for their chips and gravy, happily sitting there enjoying their food, which has been really nice to see.”

She added: “There’s no stigma attached to it at all.

“The lasses know if someone comes in for a meal with their kids, they don’t charge for the children’s meal without any need to say anything.

“They won’t be shouting across the cafe that people are having free food or anything like that – just hop in, have something to eat and there’ll be no fuss at all.”

Noah’s Plaice, at Egremont, is also doing its bit for the borough’s youngsters, and is thrilled to have received fruit donations from Winscale Amateur Football Club, while parents and staff at Orgill School paid for meals from the shop for each and every pupil.

To find your nearest trader offering food for children, visit www.kidsmealsmap.co.uk.