‘I could do more with £30’: Angry mum criticises free school meals hamper
The Government has promised to investigate the free school meal parcels sent to families after they were called ‘woefully inadequate’. Children’s minister Vicky Ford said she would be ‘urgently’ look into the matter after complaints the amount of food provided has been far too small.
The mother said the parcel had been issued by Chartwells, a private company contracted by the Department for Education, instead of £30 worth of vouchers.
“I could do more with £30 to be honest,” she wrote, adding that she estimated the total value of the goods to be £5.22.
Chartwell, the company that allegedly supplied Roadside Mum’s box, said they would investigate the matter but that the picture did “not reflect the specification of one of our hampers”.
The firm’s website says their £23 food hamper for two weeks contains a block of cheese, 14 portions of fruit, 16 portions of vegetables, a kilogram bag of penne pasta, four chopped tomato tins, two tins of tuna, one loaf of bread and nine healthy snacks.
An angry mother has tweeted a photo of what she says is an inadequate food hamper to replace free school meals for her children.
The image has been shared more than 18,000 times on Twitter – including by footballer Marcus Rashford, who had campaigned to ensure families were supplied with food during lockdown, and said it was “unacceptable”.
It shows a loaf of bread, a bag of pasta, one can of baked beans, some cheese, three apples, two carrots, one tomato, two baked potatoes, two bananas, two malt loaf snacks and three snack size tubes of fromage frais.
Children deserve better than this…— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) January 11, 2021
Where is this being rolled out?— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) January 11, 2021
If families are entitled to £30 worth of food, why is there delivery only equating to just over £5?! 1 child or 3, this what they are receiving? Unacceptable https://t.co/SNblZ1wl5P
The unnamed mother, who uses the Twitter handle “Roadside Mum”, said she was sent just a few pounds worth of food to feed her children for 10 days.
Families eligible for free school meals have the option of food parcels or vouchers while schools are shut due to a third national lockdown in England.Advertisement
The food in Roadside Mum’s photo falls remarkably short of these requirements.
Other users posted similar images.
Footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford tweeted another picture and wrote: “3 days of food for 1 family… Just not good enough.
“Then imagine we expect the children to engage in learning from home.
“Not to mention the parents who, at times, have to teach them who probably haven’t eaten at all so their children can… We MUST do better.”
Lisa Tanner uploaded a photo showing food repackaged in money bags, a small carrot segment and half a tomato wrapped in clingfilm.
“Our school was disgusted by our caterers! Food in money bags!!! Pathetic carrot stub,” she wrote.
It is unclear which company supplied the parcels in the above two photos.
The Department of Health said: “We have clear guidelines and standards for food parcels, which we expect to be followed.
“Parcels should be nutritious and contain a varied range of food.”
“We are not here in this world to find elegant solutions, pregnant with initiative, or to serve the ways and modes of profitable progress. No, we are here to provide for all those who are weaker and hungrier, more battered and crippled than ourselves. That is our only certain good and great purpose on earth, and if you ask me about those insoluble economic problems that may arise if the top is deprived of their initiative, I would answer ‘To hell with them.’ The top is greedy and mean and will always find a way to take care of themselves. They always do.” ― Michael Foot, former Labour Leader