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Food hampers row: Cllr Charlotte Zosseder of Dover buys trolleyful with £30 for free school meals

A mum has bought a trolleyful of food for the £30 that children could have on fully-paid meal vouchers.

This was in direct contrast to the "poverty picnic" hampers given out to some on free school meals.

Charlotte Zosseder said:“This government should be ashamed.

What Cllr Zosseder could get on a full voucher, Picture: Charlotte Zosseder
What Cllr Zosseder could get on a full voucher, Picture: Charlotte Zosseder

"Giving people paltry poverty picnics worth £7 instead of £30 vouchers is ripping off those that need help the most."

The government and its contractors came under fire for sending out hampers with just 11 items for five days for children on free school meals.

Cllr Zosseder stressed that the government’s own published advice suggests that a child every week needs two potatoes, one loaf of bread, three tomatoes, five pieces of fruit, one tin of tuna, one tin of meat, three cheese portions, one tin of baked beans, three yoghurts and a bottle of milk.

She said: " I can tell you with certainty,as the mother of a primary-aged child, that what has been provided for for parents of children on free school meals is not good enough."

Cllr Zosseder, of Dover Town Council, experimented by shopping at Aldi in the town's Cherry Tree Avenue, spending the £30 that would be given by the state in cash or vouchers.

Cllr Charlotte Zosseder. Submitted picture
Cllr Charlotte Zosseder. Submitted picture

KM Group writer and mum-of-two Lauren Abbott carried out the same trial and filled a basket with 40 items at Asda for £26,56.

Images shared on social media showed poor quality and low value packages sent to families during this month's coronavirus lockdown.

Education food service provider Chartwells apologised after one mother posted an image of a parcel estimated to contain just over £5 worth of food.

Downing Street said the contents were "completely unacceptable" and vowed to look into the problem.

Children and families minister Vicky Ford said the managing director of Chartwellshad told her the company would take immediate action to stop the delivery of such parcels.

The FSM hamper that has been shared on social media by Twitter user Roadside Mum
The FSM hamper that has been shared on social media by Twitter user Roadside Mum

Chartwells said and the charge for food, packing and distribution was £10.50, not £30.

The Department for Education says that councils and schools decide on which free school meals provider to use and contracts are not awarded centrally from the government.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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