Schools provide lunch parcels to Torbay families

A food hamper with milk, potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, pears

Hundreds of food hampers have been provided across Torbay. - Credit: Submitted

Schools in Torbay have been working to provide lunch parcels or vouchers to those children who would normally have received free school meals.

Each school has decided how best to provide the food to the children.

Some have decided to provide a weekly food parcel that would be the equivalent of the five lunches that the children would have received had they been at school during this period.

Others are directly allocating vouchers to families instead, where the provision allows some schools are even able to provide hot meals within the child’s lunch parcel.

Hundreds of food hampers have been provided across Torbay.

The parcels provided have a good variety of fresh and dried items, with many parents expressing their gratitude especially after seeing so much negative media nationally.

One said: “I am very happy with the quality and quantity for the boys, it will help massively during these times, thank you."

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Another said: “My child’s school provided meal boxes that included a recipe and ingredients to make pizza to encourage parents and children to cook together.”

Cllr Cordelia Law, Cabinet member for children’s services at Torbay Council, said: “It is of paramount importance to us that our families feel supported during this difficult time.

"Nationally, there has been a great deal of media coverage about the quality of food parcels being received by families. We are pleased to say that here in Torbay, our families are delighted with the support they are receiving from their child’s school.

"If concerns or questions have been raised, these have been promptly dealt with by schools and solutions agreed with parents.

"There is lots of support for anyone who may be struggling with food poverty, there is no need for any family to go without in Torbay."

As well as Torbay Council working with local schools to provide food to vulnerable children and families, its teams continue to work with community partners to ensure no one living in Torbay goes hungry.

Torbay Food Alliance, a consortium of 12 food banks and community voluntary organisations has provided more than 325,000 meals to those in need since March 2020.

Anyone struggling with food poverty is urged to contact the Covid-19 Community Helpline on 01803 446022.

Torbay Council have spent the grants received from Government directly on payments to Torbay Food Alliance and others. This has enabled community and voluntary organisations to provide hot meals and food parcels to those most in need.

In addition, families who are already thinking ahead to the February half-term and whether or not their child will continue to receive a lunch provision will be provided with vouchers to be able to buy food.

Early Years, schools and post-16 providers will work with the council to issue the vouchers to eligible children and young people – focussing on all children in food poverty rather than those just eligible for free school meals.