Dad Of Five Given £7.20 Worth Of Food In £30 Free School Meal Hamper
A family who have been rocked by the Covid-19 pandemic were shocked to receive a free school meals hamper that was supposed to amount to £30, containing just £7.20 worth of food - including a cup of undated tuna.
Nick, 36, from the South West, is completing his teacher training, while his partner, who wants to remain anonymous, was unfortunately made redundant at the start of the pandemic. The couple are also full time carers to their two disabled daughters.
This is what my family received today for a week for 2 children pic.twitter.com/G0i3CY1lpu
- nickb12345 (@nickb123452) January 12, 2021
The free school meals they are eligible for while secondary schools are closed were a lifeline to the family. The packages should be giving their two eldest children, aged 12 and 15 - one of whom suffers from IBS - balanced lunches for the week.
But when they picked up the food from their school, they were handed over a box - that when priced up on the Tesco website - contained £6.02 worth of food.
It included six potatoes, two trays of dry pasta, four tins of beans, a cup of tuna and a single yellow pepper.
The image was posted on Twitter, along with hundreds of others who received the parcels today, after child food poverty campaigner and footballer Marcus Rashford tweeted to say the packages weren't good enough.
Children deserve better than this...
- Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) January 11, 2021
After they emailed the school, the family had a knock on the door to realise they had been sent a bag of 10 apples, bringing the total spent on the hamper up to £7.20. Schools are able to claim up to £15 for each eligible free school meals pupil for the packages from the government.
Speaking to LADbible, dad-of-five Nick said: "We got a phone call from the school to say that it was ready and to come and collect it. I didn't say anything to the school as we collected it, just sort of scratched my head at how it was presented and that it's not labelled, and it's in a cup.
"I was also thinking I'm not quite sure how we're going to create a substantial and proper meal for them, other than one day of jacket potatoes.
"When I opened it up I just felt really demoralised."
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As per guidelines set out by the Department for Education, meal packages should:
- contain food items rather than pre-prepared meals due to food safety considerations
- minimise the fridge and freezer space that schools and families will need to store foods
- contain items which parents can use to prepare healthy lunches for their child/children across the week
- not rely on parents having additional ingredients at home to prepare meals
- not contain items restricted under the school food standards
- cater for pupils who require special diets, for example, allergies, vegetarians or religious diets - schools should ensure there are systems in place to avoid cross-contamination
- contain appropriate packaging sizes for household use, rather than wholesale sizes
The organisation supplying the hamper, Aspens, is a privately owned company contracted to supply school meals across the UK.
According to eatright.org, once opened, canned tuna should be stored for a maximum of one to two days in the fridge.
Nick added: "There's no way I can use that tuna, I don't know how long it's been open, was it today or yesterday? We just don't know.
"They just said, if there are any problems, then please just get to school with a ring or contact the school."
But the school have so far failed to offer an alternative solution, despite the family getting in touch.
Nick said that during the last lockdown, the family were provided with food vouchers, so they could go to the supermarket and get their girls food, drinks and snack. With one of his children living with IBS, it means they knew exactly what they were feeding them and could create a substantial, suitable meal themselves.
Marcus Rashford, who has spearheaded the campaign to end child poverty in the UK, even got in touch with Nick about his tweet.
Nick added: "It's amazing that he has used his privileged position and his position of respect amongst younger people to do what he's done."
LADbible has contacted the Department for Education and Aspens for comment.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter
Topics: UK News
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