The images yesterday of food parcels going to the poorest of school children entitled to free school meals while schools are in lockdown were shocking to say the least.
What is equally shocking is leading foodservice provider, Chartwells, part of Compass Group that supplied the food parcel, in a statement of supposed apology, seems to view the contents of the image above as nutritionally sufficient for a school child for five days.
The statement from Chartwells/Compass Group said: “For clarity, this (image above) shows five days of free school lunches (not 10 days) and the charge for food, packing and distribution was actually £10.50 and not £30 as suggested.”
The revelation of what Chartwells provides to school children forced Children’s Minister Vicky Ford MP to act immediately, calling a meeting with Chartwells/Compass Group CEO.
The Children’s Minister tweeted post meeting: “Chartwells has rightly apologised & admitted the parcel in question was not good enough. I met their CEO earlier today and he has assured me they have taken immediate action to stop further deliveries of poor-quality parcels.”
Social media channels were alight with reaction to the scandal, the tweet that sparked the furore was sent by a recipient of a ‘food parcel’ from Chartwells. The reaction saw more than 80,000 engagements with the tweet, the less critical were none the less scathing, accusing Chartwells/Compass of profiteering from the vulnerable in a time of crisis.
#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
Marcus Rashford MBE who has been a champion of school meal provision throughout the Covid crisis was one of many high profile individuals shocked by the revelations. Engagement levels with just one of his tweet’s neared 100,000.
Where is this being rolled out?
If families are entitled to £30 worth of food, why is there delivery only equating to just over £5?! 1 child or 3, this what they are receiving? Unacceptable https://t.co/SNblZ1wl5P
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) January 11, 2021
The Children’s Minister Vicky Ford MP then also via twitter requested for similar cases to be reported, in a tweet she asked: “Anyone with any evidence of problems should come forward to dfe with details so we can investigate – We will set out further details tomorrow (today) on how best to report this and other matters.”
If you read the promise to education providers on the Compass Group website detailing the services provided by Chartwells, it flies in the face of experiences in recent days.
At any time, the provision of nutritious food to school children is of vital importance to the nation, at this time of crisis, even more so. As such Chartwells/Compass Group has delivered a great disservice to foodservice. The time now is for amends from Chartwells/Compass Group, not further limp PR excuses.
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Hospitality & Catering News: Children’s Minister calls on Chartwells/Compass Group CEO to explain food parcels debacle – 13 January 2021 – Children’s Minister calls on Chartwells/Compass Group CEO to explain food parcels debacle
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