"I think the issue here is not that people are ungrateful" - Star readers discuss Free School Meals parcels

After a tweet regarding the Free School Meals parcel went viral, we asked The Star readers what they thought and whether they’d received their parcel. This is what they had to say:

Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 4:45 pm

Julie Jackson said; “People seem to be forgetting that these children who rely on benefits if in school would be entitled to a free meal if they are not going to school it's only right that the money that was for that should be given to the parents in order to feed them at home. Please stop saying why should they get anything.”

Ann Wood was very rational with her response saying that; “This food is what's affordable after various suppliers have taken their cut. I suspect it's better to give parents £30 to spend locally.”

And, Laura Kay Hancock is very cognisant of the associated costs, saying; “Unfortunately schools pay a very high premium on foods due to the margins the buying groups involved in their supply chain management add on so they make a profit, shopping at the supermarket would be far cheaper. It’s very wrong and it something which needs addressing in order to get schools the value of goods they deserve.”

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Volunteers from Richmond Rugby, prepare to deliver meals to local school children on the Ivybridge estate in Twickenham, south west London, on October 26, 2020, following the British Government's announcement not extend free school meals for children during the school holidays and periods of lockdown. - A campaign by Manchester United' Marcus Rashford to feed England's poorest children in school holidays has turned into a political football, throwing the spotlight on increased poverty during the coronavirus outbreak. "This is not politics, this is humanity," tweeted the 22-year-old England striker after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government voted against a proposal to give free meals to vulnerable youngsters during school holidays this week. (Photo by Hollie Adams / AFP) (Photo by HOLLIE ADAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

Deborah Egan says; “I have just written to my MP asking for the Government's tendering process. This contract given to Chartwell it appears wasn't assessed on value for money or nutritional value. Indeed it was not assessed at all. But awarded without a tendering process directly to a known Tory party donor.

Bev Lucas is disappointed by the negativity and pettiness in effect, saying; “So now people are looking in others trolleys to see what they buy with they’re vouchers, what a sad world we live in always begrudging others of help.”

Mik Staton Wild is aiming his ire at those in power in this instance, saying; “For what they get is no more than a tenner, we received the voucher and it got us a full shop for our little one”

Nigel Preston is considering the impact of the pandemic on all families, saying; “The people I feel sorry for are the ones that have lost their jobs, in the pandemic, there the ones losing out, the ones that were on benefits before won't see any difference, cos they will still be getting their money.”

Louise Woolfall said; “I’m a bit sick of the negativity around this subject, some families work hard and just fall outside getting any kind of benefits but rely on food banks to help out, shouldn’t people thank themselves lucky there not in that position”

And Nic Kirkland was quick to clarify what the focus should be, saying; “I think the issue here is not that people are ungrateful, it's that the company is being given £15 per child a week and what they are supplying clearly isn’t £15 worth. The article mentions £30 as the woman in question had two children. Whatever happened to being kind? So many many people out for themselves and looking down on everyone. Such sad times we live in I really despair.”

Matt Stanley however, seems more concerned about a footballer who has the audacity to raise the issue in the first place; “They’d be a lot more struggling families eating better if Marcus Rashford paid his tax bill.”

Sarah Fretwell says; “Its absolutely disgusting this day and age. If you took the food provided into a pack lunch for the kids for school, they would ring social for not feeding your child properly. Needs sorting QUICK”.

Tara Robinson was scathing with her reply, and she said; “Its a joke what they send the child us pathetic n its suppose to feed the 5 times that week”.

Jayne Louise was correct when she said; “Actually they don’t have an option as the goverment haven’t provided school with vouchers yet” — but thankfully they will be doing so from next week.

Stephanie Hanson thinks the problems go even further, saying; “There are so many parents who work and struggle because they earn 'too much' for free school meals. It's not just about benefits so many struggle who are on low pay.”

Kirsty Sambrook said; “Think some of you are missing the point, its not being ungrateful its making a point that it should be £30s worth and its clearly not! So where's the rest of the funds going?”

Fiona Lindenstruth rather pointedly says; “It's a scam. The company providing the meals have links to the Tory party. They are being paid to provide £30 worth of food for 10 days lunches, and are giving the kids maybe £5 worth of food.”

And finally, Rachel Jane Wood said; “We don’t get free school meals but fully support the scheme and the people that need it. People moaned that giving people £30 would mean they would spend it on the wrong type of things.

Some kids also have allergies and can’t even eat the c**p they’ve been sent. Go back to vouchers.”

It was a pretty emotional and opinionated affair, understandably, there were too many comments to share here, take a look at the discussion here.

Thankfully the topic as a whole garnered lots of attention, being shared by multiple celebrities and eventually ending up in PMQs today. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the scheme had not gone as planned and starting next week, the health secretary has said that a food voucher scheme for children eligible for free school meals will be launching next week. So that’s something.