Worst school meal packages revealed as mum says she wouldn't feed it to dog

Shocking pictures show the pitiful school meal packages parents have been given to feed their children for 10 days, as one mum claims she ‘wouldn’t give a dog’ some of the food in her parcel.

Food packages have been introduced to replace the £30 vouchers previously handed out to parents, as children turn to remote learning during the third national lockdown.

However, hundreds of families have insisted the contents of their ‘woeful’ parcels could be bought at supermarkets for just a few pounds.

The private companies that provide the hampers have been accused of profiteering from the system, with one dad claiming: ‘They are laughing in our faces’.

Father-of-two Anthony says he was ‘shocked’ when he opened his package to find a loaf of ‘hard’ bread, eggs that will go out of date in just four days, a can of tuna, three carrots, two potatoes, two tomatoes and three yogurts.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk, he said he could have bought the contents for ‘under a tenner’ in a supermarket, adding: ‘I think a lot of parents will agree that the company would have made a lot of money off this. 

‘That food is nowhere near £30. I’d laugh if someone told me it was worth £30, I’d say “come with me, I can buy all of that for a damn sight less than your reckoning”. They’re laughing in your face really.’

Anthony says the little money that has been spent on his package is ‘a waste of time’ as his sons won’t eat the food in it anyway.

He said: ‘We used to get vouchers and they worked a lot better because they were getting proper meals with meat and they could get what they wanted for their dinner. They used to have roasts and pasta at school. They haven’t eaten any of the food in the package.’





‘I was shocked when we picked it up. What’s even the point in going for it if it’s not going to help?’

He added: ‘Obviously, we’ve given them something to eat instead but it’s the whole fact that the school meals were supposed to be there to help and it doesn’t. It’s just an inadequate handout really.

Another mum named Faye, 34, has shared a picture of packages two of her children received from their academy in Norfolk.

Each parcel consists of one loaf of bread, five bottles of water, five small cakes, a few slices of ham and a small package of cheese. She believes she could buy the whole package for £1.60 per child.

The contents of the parcel does not work for Faye’s children either as her daughter suffer from IBS and must follow a strict diet.

Faye has asked her school to use the £30 to provide her with ingredients to cook a hot meal instead – but the school has refused to change the food, telling her ‘you either get it or get nothing’.

She said: ‘I don’t know if I’d feed the ham to my dog. I’ve seen pictures of what some people have and that looks like ham, what I’ve got is a bunch of gristle. 

‘Just because my children get free school meals doesn’t mean my children eat unhealthy. My kids are used to proper home cooked meals. 

‘My daughter has musculoskeletal disorder and severe joint issues and there is no way she’s getting the protein she needs from the package so it’s going to end up costing me the same amount as what the government is paying the school to feed her at home, which obviously I don’t have.’

Footballer Marcus Rashford, who successfully lobbied the government into continuing free school meals for children through the summer and Christmas holidays, has described the packages as ‘unacceptable’.

Labour leader Keir Starmer also claimed the situation was a ‘disgrace’ after seeing images shared on social media this morning.

He wrote: ’The images appearing online of woefully inadequate free school meal parcels are a disgrace. Where is the money going? This needs sorting immediately so families don’t go hungry through lockdown.’





Meanwhile, a number of other MPs have attacked the providers, questioning how much of the money they are ‘keeping for themselves’.

Marie Rimmer – Labour MP for St Helens South & Whiston said: ‘A private provider of free school meals is taking advantage of all of us. The funding is supposed to help hungry children.’

Afzal Khan Labour, MP for Manchester Gorton, added: ‘Shameful. Some serious questions need answering here. Where is the money for free school meals going? Who is profiting from children going hungry?’

Some of the parcels – although not all – were supplied by private catering company Chartwells, which is part of the food service giant Compass Group. 

A spokesperson for Chartwells said the amount of food did not ‘reflect the specification of one of our hampers’. They added that they would investigate immediately.

They said: ‘We take our responsibility to provide children with access to nutritious food very seriously. We have worked hard to produce food hampers at incredibly short notice during these challenging times. 

‘Our hampers follow the DofE specifications and contain a variety of ingredients to support families in providing meals throughout the week. In the majority of instances, we have received positive feedback. 

‘In this instance, the image on Twitter falls short of our hamper specification and we are keen to investigate with the relevant school so we can address any operational issues that may have arisen.’

Children’s minister Vicky Ford has said she will ‘urgently’ look into the matter amid the complaints about the amount of food.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education also said they would be looking into the situation. They went on: ‘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.’

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