That’s a question I asked myself this morning listening to a news item about the provision of meals to children who would normally have free school meals to have food sent to their homes during this pandemic.
Is ignorance a good enough defence? I am sure I’m not alone in not questioning how this provision worked. Listening to Zane Powers Assistant Head Teacher at a school in Grimsby, I was frankly shocked at the profiteering during a pandemic at the cost of children’s wellbeing.
Zane has been all over social media throughout the pandemic. He and his team brought and delivered food and tech to their vulnerable pupils at their home. This enabled them to check how they were doings if their parents were ok and support them with homework etc socially distanced at the gate. Of course, this came out of the school funds so getting the package from Central Government sounded like a good solution. Schools could decide if they wanted packed lunches or vouchers for their children.
Sounds a good choice? Mmm not as Zane went on to explain. Vouchers means parents have to go out and get the food which defeats the ‘stay at home’ advice. It also prevents teachers checking their pupils and families are really ok. The packed lunches were provided in bulk items being delivered to the school who then had to make the packs up and deliver them. However Zane said the contents for each child was pretty poor with little choice: either a cheese or ham bun, small packet of raisins, one piece of fruit and possibly a cookie. The cost of this was double that of a hot school meal! Zane said for the quality and content, he could do better. Zane’s lucky – his local Sainsbury gave him £150 to help so they added variety to the packs before delivering them.
Of course private companies have to cover their costs and make a profit but is there a fine line between making an honest profit and delivering an inadequate product for a massive profit? especially in these times.
Children are the future. If they aren’t nourished they won’t realise their full potential and contribute positively to society. Is that acceptable?
How would you feel if you had to eat the same packed lunch every day?
Doesn’t this look better? How much more would it cost? How much better would it taste?