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Footballer and child poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford has hit out at the amount of food parents are receiving for their children in the free school meal parcels.
Households with children that would usually qualify for food at school have been given the option of parcels to prepare at home but there has been a huge amount of backlash.
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. This is 2021 https://t.co/mEZ6rCA1LE
- Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) January 11, 2021
#FreeSchoolMeals On the left £30 of food. On the right what private company Chartwells have supplied having been awarded a government contract to supply for £30 free school meals.
Utterly shameful profiteering off some of the country's most disadvantaged kids! pic.twitter.com/XcmUm8qM1h
- MunchBunch (@Munchbunch87) January 11, 2021
One of the 'hampers', which is supposed to last for five days, includes: 2 potatoes, one tin of beans, a loaf of bread, eight single cheese slices, two carrots, three apples, two bananas, two Soreen slices and three yogurts along with some pasta and single tomato.
The person that received the above decided to go on to ASDA's website and tally up what she was sent and wrote: "Priced via Asda: Bread 89p Beans 85p Carrots 15p Apples 42p Potatoes 22p Tomato 11p Cheese £1.45 Frubes 33p Pasta 10p Soreen 40p Bananas 30p Public funds were charged £30. I'd have bought this for £5.22. The private company who have the #FSM contract made good profit here."
This has led to many people questioning how Chartwells, the company awarded the contract to distribute the food, are being allowed to get away with this. A spokesperson for Chartwells told LADbible the charge was actually £10.50 per parcel.
Could you please share with us exactly what a £30 box is supposed to look like.
I'm sure this won't be a problem as you've been contracted to supply loads of them.
Thanks in advance!
- Satan :blue_heart: (@SpeakingSatan) January 12, 2021
#FreeSchoolMeals bag for 10 days:
2 days jacket potato with beans
8 single cheese sandwiches
2 days carrots
3 days apples
2 days soreen
3 days frubes
Spare pasta & tomato. Will need mayo for pasta salad.
Issued instead of £30 vouchers. I could do more with £30 to be honest. pic.twitter.com/87LGUTHXEu
- Roadside Mum :tiger: (@RoadsideMum) January 11, 2021
In a reply to one of the complaints, Chartwells wrote: "Thank you for bringing this to our attention, this does not reflect the specification of one of our hampers. Please can you DM us the details of the school that your child attends and we will investigate immediately."
The Department of Education also said that it is looking into the matter, adding: "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."
In a statement given to LADbible, a spokesperson for Chartwells said: "We have had time to investigate the picture circulated on Twitter. For clarity this shows five days of free school lunches (not ten days) and the charge for food, packing and distribution was actually £10.50 and not £30 as suggested.
"However, in our efforts to provide thousands of food parcels a week at extremely short notice we are very sorry the quantity has fallen short in this instance.
"Our ten-day hampers typically include a wide variety of nutritious food items to support the provision of lunches for children.
"We are further enhancing our food parcels following the Department for Education's additional allowance of £3.50 per week per child in line with nutritional guidelines, in addition we welcome the DofE procurement notice for schools issued today.
"We would like to thank Marcus Rashford and the Permanent Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Vicky Ford, for their collaboration as we navigate these difficult times."
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