Parents blast 'woefully inadequate' food parcels for children learning at home

Parents blast 'woefully inadequate' food parcels for children learning at home

Families entitled to the support of free school meals for their offspring, who don't now have children in school to take them up, are it seems either receiving food vouchers or in the case of Twitter user Roadside Mum - a food "hamper" provided by a company contracted to deliver such a service. Who is profiteering from our hungry children being provided with disgracefully inadequate meals?

Chartwells has been named as the company behind the meagre food "hamper" supplied to one family in England, a photo of which has shared nearly 30,000 times and branded "unacceptable" by footballer and activist Marcus Rashford. Many on Twitter have also raised concerns.

Alongside a picture of food items, she wrote: "Issued instead of £30 vouchers".

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. If families are entitled to £30 worth of food, why is there delivery only equating to just over £5?! Parents recently received a £30 voucher to cover food over the winter break, but during term time, food parcels are being distributed instead.

She estimated the cost of the food in the package at £5.22 based on prices at Asda.

Foodwriter Jack Monroe, who describes herself as a "former foodbank mum turned accidental activist", described the parcels as "offensively meagre scraps".

But equally, it was still more than £3 short of the supposed £30 budget (lets call that admin and distribution costs) and there's no doubt considerably more food and variety than in the pictures being circulated online. In a later tweet, he added: "Then imagine we expect the children to engage in learning from home".

"Thank you for bringing this to our attention", said the company in a tweet.

Now its turned out that Chartwells company, Chartwells Independent, offers luxurious gourmet food for private schools, including "a selection of canapés for Norwich School, coconut, lemongrass and banana leaf wrapped salmon for New Hall school and bouillabaisse at Chigwell School".

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Today the government has pledged to "urgently" look into claims that the meal parcels only contain a few pounds worth of food.

"The Department for Education's investigation must happen immediately so we know where the money is going".

The government promised free school meals would be available for eligible children during the current lockdown.

When photos of some parcels' contents were publicised, the company apologised and agreed it had fallen short. We MUST do better. "Children shouldn't be going hungry on the basis that we aren't communicating or being transparent with plans".

He later shared some "key points" from his conversation with education food service provider Chartwells.

Sharing pictures of the parcels on social media, Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford said: "Just not good enough".

Johnson said he was grateful to Rashford for highlighting the issue and described some of the food parcels as "an insult to the families that have received them".

The Department for Education, the spokesperson added, will revert to a food voucher scheme like the one deployed during the UK's first lockdown.

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