Mum Lisa Siska said the parcel she was given will not be nearly enough to feed her teenage son

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Shocking pictures from Mirror readers show the "disgraceful" food packages being sent out to struggling families as the government faces calls to explain itself.

The images reveal parents who rely on free school meals have been sent food worth just a few pounds to feed their children for several days.

One distraught mum says she must now "not pay a bill" in order to buy food as the parcel is nowhere near enough to feed her autistic son.

The scandal has sparked a national outrage, with Labour leader Keir Starmer branding the packages a "disgrace", while footballer and child poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford said suppliers "must do better".

One firm responsible for distributing food parcels this evening apologised after an image of a paltry food parcel went viral.

Chartwells admitted the quantity had "fallen short in this instance".

The company is one of a number of businesses that deliver food packages – although a large proportion of parents saying they would prefer to be given food vouchers.

It said in a statement to The Mirror that "we are very sorry the quantity has fallen short in this instance".

Have you received a similar food parcel? Let us know by emailing pictures to [email protected]

A picture supplied by mum Vikki Mccabey of the paltry amount of food she was sent

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Here is a selection of the examples of food packages that Mirror readers have sent us

Mum Lisa Siska, from the Isle of Wight, told The Mirror that the package will not be sufficient to feed her autistic son, who is 15 – meaning she will have to "not pay a bill" in order to buy more food.

She said: "This is disgusting it's not even worth £5. I can't feed my son on this he has autism and adhd and has texture issues with food."

And she added: "I will have to not pay a bill so I can buy more food."

She said that she has previously received food vouchers, but was not given this option again.

Shireen Chambers, from Hastings, shared a picture of a food box she had received, writing: "This is what my nine-year-old's school gave us for two weeks worth of meals. I can't make a lot with it plus it's cost £5 on a bus to go and collect it."

Lucy Geary sent a picture of the contents of a food parcel

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Lucy Geary, from Dorset, told The Mirror:
"I am a key worker, my children and I are in isolation now because they have been in contact with someone who has covid, so we will receive nothing until they return to school!"

Another dad wrote: "Me and my partner received one of these boxes last week and we too believe it was an estimated value of £6 rather than the £30 we are entitled to.

"We had received vouchers in the past but that all seems to have stopped.

Hannah Tullett sent a picture of the contents of a food parcel she was sent

"I didn't take any pictures as I didn't want to initially speak up but seeing others dealing with the same I feel now that it's not just us.

"It is only enough for a few days of food for the children as to the £30 voucher was enough for at least a week to feed him.

"It's simply not fair. I am a full time carer for my disabled partner and a full time dad to my two young children and I am only able to work part time and we are on the Universal Credit system.

"It simply isn't right."

Karen Marvin said she was sent this parcel to last her 10 days

Zoe Mackay, from East Sussex, wrote: "I would have requested the vouchers as before as this suits my child needs and choices more.

"What I received was so basic and half of what little was there my 6 year old will not eat!

"This has not helped me at all being a single mother on a very tight budget!"

Football star and child poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford has said parcels are 'just not good enough'
(Image: @MarcusRashford)

Mum Rhea Cartlidge told the Mirror: "This in no way replaces what we were receiving, which was £15 per week, per child.

"Somebody must be profiting from this scheme, this time around and it certainly doesn’t make a week's worth of lunches for my children.

"I’m wondering what is going on."

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."