Aldi has pledged to donate 10 million meals to families facing hunger this year as it further ramps up its support for Marcus Rashford’s campaign to tackle child food poverty.

The discounter has also commissioned an animated film, narrated by England footballer Rashford, to raise awareness of the problem.

The 10 million meals will be donated through Aldi’s partnership with community charity Neighbourly. Aldi stores already donate surplus food through Neighbourly every day.

The animation, by illustrator Lisa Stickley, personifies hunger as a creature that follows a child throughout his day, as Rashford reads a poem from the boy’s perspective by Giles Andreae.

“At Aldi we’re making it our mission to fight against child food poverty as no child should ever go hungry,” said Aldi UK and Ireland CEO Giles Hurley. “Not only are we pledging to donate 10 million meals throughout 2021 to families that need it, this campaign also aims to help raise awareness of the increasing number of families struggling to put food on the table.

“We were delighted for Marcus Rashford MBE to be the voice of the boy, which shows just what an important issue it is to us all.”

Rashford said: “Reading the script for the Aldi animation I felt like I was talking about myself 10 years ago. This story is a reality for millions of children so, of course, I was happy to lend my voice. I’m proud to call Aldi a founding member of the Child Food Poverty Taskforce.

“Aldi has continued to take active steps to combat the issue of child food poverty and I would encourage everyone to get involved in their pledge to donate 10 million meals. 2021 is a time to level the playing field once and for all.”

Neighbourly CEO Steve Butterworth said: “We are thrilled to be working with Aldi to further its commitment to supporting local communities and help make a dent in the UK’s hunger epidemic. I know first-hand the vast number of children that rely on our local charity partners in order to go to bed without an empty stomach, and this commitment will go a long way for the families who are struggling to put food on the table.”