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A mum who received free school meals parcel meant to feed her child for a week has labelled it an "insult".

The south east London mum said she could do better herself with £3 at Lidl.

The parcel from her school's catering company is meant to last a week for her nine-year-old son.

But the box she was given included only a tin of tuna, a tin of baked beans, a loaf of bread, five pieces of fruit, milk, a packet of pasta, and some slices of cheese.

Miss Brown, who preferred only to give her surname to protect her child's privacy, would previously have been eligible for £30 worth of vouchers over two weeks.

The mum doesn't drive, and said it took her a nearly two-hour round-trip across four bus trips to pick up the hamper from a school collection point.

What do you think of the free school meals parcels? Let us know in the comments below

A south east London mum was given this food parcel to feed her son, aged 9, for two weeks
(Image: Brown family, South East London)

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The mum said she would have been able to stretch the £15 weekly voucher at Lidl, Tesco or Aldi much further.

By her calculations, that amount would cover an estimated: four pints of milk, at £1.10 each, a loaf of bread for 40p, 500g of Pasta for 30p, Pasta sauce 70p, fruit and vegetables worth £5.50, £6 of fresh meat – either chicken legs, pork or mince, a £6 multipack of crisps, and a 70p packet of biscuits.

The Londoner told the Mirror she had been paying £12.50-15 a week for her son's school dinners while working, before she lost her job.

Miss Brown said: "If I’d been given the vouchers to spend myself, not only would it have stretched much further, but as most mums do, I would have planned what meals I’d make and check what I already have at home before doing the shop.

"I also make lots and freeze meals as it works out cheaper. I know how to make decent, filing meals from scratch with only a few ingredients… Sadly nothing I was supplied, apart from the type of tuna, Is anything I’d really use for the type of meal I feed my son."

Miss Brown said she was paying £12.50-15 a week for her son's school dinners while employed.

She found herself out full time work just before Christmas 2019, then the coronavirus crisis struck.

Her son became eligible for free school meals, and Miss Brown said she found the vouchers a "huge help" during the first lockdown.

She described the replacement hampers now being provided by the school's catering company as "diabolical."

The image of the scant contents of a food parcel the shocked the nation

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She said: "I could buy it myself for less than £3 from Aldi or Lidl! It’s not worth the money it costs me to go to pick it up!".

Miss Brown added that she has since emailed the school to say it was not worthwhile for her to collect any more hampers – given the size of the journey and the contents of the parcels.

Backlash over free school meals grew this week, after a mum's photo of a sparse free school meals haul on Twitter lit a fuse.

Many critics took aim at private companies that had landed contracts to provide the vital food supplies as hampers instead of vouchers.

One firm was singled out for particularly stinging criticism.

A picture of a sparse food hamper sent in to the Mirror by a family in Boston, Lincolnshire

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Chartwells has vowed to refund its Free School Meals income where parcels didn't meet its standards, after investigating pictures circulating on social media.

A spokesperson clarified in a statement for the Mirror that the initial viral picture showed five days of free school lunches (not ten), with the food, packing and distribution was actually £10.50 and not £30.

The company was not responsible for all the hampers pictured online.

Hordes of furious parents shocked by the tiny quantities and poor-quality food shared photos online of their parcels.

Fuming parents shared snaps of tiny parcels of cheese, beans, potatoes, bread and yoghurt, meant to cover their kids' school-day lunches for two weeks.

They were distributed by catering companies, local authorities, schools and other suppliers up and down the country.

One dad claimed he was given only bread and ham to feed his 11-year-old daughter.

Child poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford and budget cooking writer Jack Monroe led the backlash, as they backed families' demands for answers.

Manchester United footballer Rashford, who forced the Tories into a U-Turn on its decision to stop free school meals over the summer break, said: "We MUST do better" as he shared images of the parcels on Twitter.

The free school meals scandal has sparked national outrage, with Labour leader Keir Starmer branding the parcels a "disgrace".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the parcels highlighted in images circulating on social media as "clearly inadequate".