The UK government is in hot water after photos of measly meals they delivered to school-aged kids on lockdown have gone viral.
People are pissed about free school lunches in the United Kingdom after a concerned parent posted a photo of her child’s lunch delivery that went viral. The lunches, which are free to students, were delivered across the country as students have been learning remotely as a result of surging COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the country that is being swept by the UK ultra-contagious variant of the virus.
As a result of the school closures and the national lockdown, the vast majority of UK kids are learning remotely, except for the children of essential workers like those who work in hospitals. Because of that, the UK government, partnered with a food service company called Chartwells, (so British!) had food parcels delivered to kids in the United Kingdom. The packages were supposed to be ten meals of food worth thirty pounds so that parents could feed their children every school day without shouldering the load of lunches that are usually free. But what the parents got in those parcels are a sight to be seen.
One UK mom, @RoadsideMum on Twitter, posted a photo on Twitter of the “food kit” that included: a loaf of bread, a can of beans, three apples, a tomato, two unsliced, unwashed carrots, two whole potatoes, two browned bananas, and eight slices of cheese. There’s also pasta in a plastic bag.
#FreeSchoolMeals bag for 10 days:
2 days jacket potato with beans
8 single cheese sandwiches
2 days carrots
3 days apples
2 days soreen
3 days frubes
Spare pasta & tomato. Will need mayo for pasta salad.
Issued instead of £30 vouchers. I could do more with £30 to be honest. pic.twitter.com/87LGUTHXEu
— Roadside Mum 🐯 (@RoadsideMum) January 11, 2021
One United Kingdom mom chimed in with an equally abysmal meal — with food items in non-food grade packaging, including dried pasta in sandwich bags, half-portions wrapped in plastic, one egg, and one carrot. Again, these are supposed to be proper, nutritious, varied meals for ten days for a child.
Here's another one.
Bags of very cheap basics opened, risking contamination, & half portions put in plastic. (foodbanks won't take opened things due to H&S issues) 1 egg & 1 measly carrot!
Obviously yet another tory chum deal 🤬 pic.twitter.com/bLmon9P2g6
— Emma Salmons (@salmons_emma) January 12, 2021
More than one person shared what 30 euros of food could look like — a photo of abundant fruit, vegetables, milk, meats, carbs, and more — vs. what was provided by Chartwells. The difference is, uh, stark, and reveals that parents would perhaps be better by being given direct csh to feed their kids than whatever Chartwells put together as a series of school “meals.”
#FreeSchoolMeals On the left £30 of food. On the right what private company Chartwells have supplied having been awarded a government contract to supply for £30 free school meals.
Utterly shameful profiteering off some of the country's most disadvantaged kids! pic.twitter.com/XcmUm8qM1h
— MunchBunch (@Munchbunch87) January 11, 2021
#FreeSchoolMeals On the left just over £15 of food from ALDI. On the right is what private company Chartwells have supplied after being awarded a government contract to supply for £30 free school meals. Disgusting that they are getting away with this!!! pic.twitter.com/cKNDoAKcGD
— 𝔼𝕄 ♡ (@emmamcphersxnn) January 12, 2021
But perhaps some of the worst offenses are the fact that the people packing the meals cut up, or even tore up, some vegetables to make them “portions.” How is half of a tomato supposed to last 10 meals? Half of a bell pepper? A bite of carrot?
I’m actually so ashamed to be a part of this country right now. Some of the photos I have seen of the #FreeSchoolMeals are awful. Cutting vegetables in half and using money bags to put food in? Also- how is this enough for a weeks food? Absolutely horrific ☹️ pic.twitter.com/UlNqiqIm2H
— hollie (@holzzhastie) January 12, 2021
The scandal has continued to unfold — with allegations that even after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the meals unacceptable and not up to their standards that Chartwells, run by Dominic Blakemore, was actually following, largely, what the UK government had set out as a standard. They also went on Twitter to claim that the packages were supposed to be for five meals, not 10, although even these photos don’t reveal five meals of food. Meanwhile, people asked the government to stop giving out food parcels and partnering with for-profit companies to do so poorly and to give people vouchers so that they can feed their children the way they see fit — not with half a bell pepper and an egg. Apparently, according to The Mirror, they listened and will start giving families 15 pound meal vouchers on Monday, giving parents more control over how they can feed their kids.