A child was left wondering if her school had put her on a diet when she still felt hungry after eating from a school food parcel.
Her disgruntled mum joined other parents in sharing pictures of the meagre school lunch provided to those eligible for free school meals (FSM).
Describing the contents of what she had received to keep her kid going for five days, she tweeted: “I’ve decided to take this as a challenge bearing in mind that my children have the cooked school lunch. Day 1. I cooked her small portion of pasta.
“Chopped & blended the 3 toms & heated up, added 3 slices of chopped ham, tossed in the cooked pasta and cucumber strips on the side.
“For dessert she had the banana. For drink 1 bottle of the water. She was still hungry and asked why the school had put her on a diet.
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“What’s for the other 4 days is left is some ham, 2 oranges, 2 apples, 2 potatoes, 3 water and 1 tin of beans.”
Another parent shared what was purported to be a 10-day parcel worth £30.
But the mum claimed all the contents – which included a tin of beans, two carrots, two bananas, three apples, a bag of pasta, three Frubes, two Soreen bars one tomato, two potatoes, some cheese and a loaf of bread – didn’t add up to more than £5.22.
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, who in June won his fight to get the government to carry on supplying food vouchers for kids during the summer holidays, responded saying the meals were “unacceptable”.
“One thing that is clear is that there was very little communication with the suppliers that a national lockdown was coming.
“We MUST do better. Children shouldn’t be going hungry on the basis that we aren’t communicating or being transparent with plans. That is unacceptable.”
Rashford said he had had a conversation with Chartwells – one of the suppliers of free school meals – about the worrying images.
He said it emerged parcels were supposed “to provide 10 lunch meals per child across two weeks.
“This concerns me firstly as I relied on breakfast club, FSM and after-school clubs. Is 1 meal a day from Mon-Fri sufficient for children most vulnerable?”
“Something is going wrong and we need to fix it, quickly!” he added.
Chartwells said in a statement to the Mirror that “we are very sorry the quantity has fallen short in this instance”.
But Chartwells clarified how the parcel by @RoadsideMum was worth £10.50 once food, delivery and packaging costs were accounted for – not £30 as suggested.
The company also claimed the picture showed stock for five days, not 10.
It also underlined that it is not behind all the meals pictured online.
“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”, the statement reads.
“Our 10-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.”
The Department for Education tweeted early this afternoon: “We are looking into this.
“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.”