The food package Simon Young received for his 11-year-old daughter Lola’s lunches to last her a week (Image: SWNS)
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A dad claims he was given only bread and ham to feed his 11-year-old daughter in her Free School Meals parcel.
Dad-of-one Simon Young, 50, said the so-called hamper was barely enough to feed daughter Lola, 11, for three days – and branded it a "joke."
Simon, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, claimed the '£30' hamper pack given to feed his daughter for a week during the coronavirus lockdown- was actually worth around £4.
Lola's pack contained a loaf of bread, three slices of cheese, two slices of ham, two packets of crisps, an apple, a pear, and two slices of tray-baked cakes.
What do you think of the Free School Meals hamper contents? Share your views in the comments below…
Wirral mum Emma Stirling shared this snap of the food parcel she received
(Image: Liverpool Echo)
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She qualifies for free school meals, and earlier in the lockdown unemployed Simon had appreciated the £30 vouchers he could spend at the supermarket.
The dad explained how when he collected the first meal pack last week, he believed the measures were temporary before the £30 school meal voucher scheme re-started.
But he has since learned the tiny food parcels are its replacement, when he was called in to collect this week’s package.
He is among a growing chorus of parents joined the backlash against the hampers supplied to struggling families across the country as children are schooled remotely.
Are you happy with your Free School Meals hamper? Send pictures to [email protected]
Simon Young with daughter Lola, 11
(Image: Simon Young / SWNS.COM)
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Struggling parents have been sharing pictures of the 'woeful' and 'utterly shameful' food supplies.
No10 confirmed it is launching a probe, branding the hampers pictured widely on social media overnight and today as 'completely unacceptable.'
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Single dad Simon explained how he had worked as a drumming teacher before Covid wiped out his lessons.
But because it was a new business, he didn't qualify for government funding.
The struggling dad said he could not believe the food he received to feed his daughter.
Simon said: "To see what food we were given, my first reaction was to laugh at how tiny the portions were.
“I remember thinking ‘this is an absolute joke.’
“I have an 11-year-old daughter, and for her, that food will last three days, maximum, so then what am I supposed to do?
“This is not enough to feed a growing child.”
He added: “It’s ridiculous, there isn’t even enough sandwich fillings for five sandwiches – and what am I supposed to do, cut the apple in half to make it last two meals?
“Lola is a growing girl, one of the tallest in her class, and there’s no way this would last her a week, even if we stretch it out as far as possible.
Simon explained how he has been forced to supplement the rations with some of his own limited money, just to have enough food so his daughter wouldn’t go hungry.
He said: “I’m in a fortunate position because I’m able to supplement it a bit if we stick to a budget, but not every parent will have that option.
“There is no way to make a good lunch out of that food, so I can’t imagine what it must be like for parents in a worse position than me.”
One Wirral mum-of-two claimed she was given four slices of bread to spread out across two weeks for her three kids.
Emma Stirling shared an image of the parcel she received intended to provide lunches for her three children for 10 days.
She said: "I don't know how this is to do 10 lunches, I got four slices of bread," the Liverpool Echo reports.
She added: "We know its not down to the school – this is down to the catering company."
The government and at least one catering supplier with a contract to supply the hampers is investigating the claims the standards have slipped.
Number 10 this afternoon branded images of the meagre portions on offer as "completely unacceptable".
While some local authorities have supplied carers and parents with supermarket vouchers to help pay for lunches, others have been sending out food themselves.
But a number of these parcels appear to have fallen short of standards.
The government was on Tuesday facing an outcry led by angry parents, child poverty campaigners including Marcus Rashford, and under pressure from Labour Leader Keir Starmer.
The Departments for Health and Education say they are investigating what has gone wrong with the parcels.