Food parcels criticised by meals chief

Food boxes not the solution, says school meals service boss.

Centrally-supplied food boxes for children who would normally qualify for free school meals are not the solution, says the CEO of a West Midlands-based school meals provider.

Brian Cape, CEO of SIPS Education, says there are better alternatives to the much-criticised food parcels, to help those most in need during the latest lockdown – be that vouchers, school provided fresh hot meal solutions and cold ‘grab and go’ options.

“Working with our schools, and seeing what happened last time, we decided not to get involved in boxes – we aren’t a supermarket or a logistics company, and it’s not for us to tell people how to spend support money to feed their family,” he commented. “Families can get much better value, and should be trusted to directly buy the provisions they actually need.”

“There’s been a great deal of criticism for some of the food parcels being sent out, especially in terms of their monetary value; as a community-based, not-for-profit organisation, we won’t make any profits out of this pandemic, or seek to recover losses through such disingenuous practices,” he added.

“Many school caterers have been financially devastated by the lockdown, but stripping out profits in this way is wrong.

“Where we can, we’re providing local daytime solutions to schools, depending on whether they want hot meals or cold ‘grab-bag’ options; where appropriate, we also believe in freedom of choice for parents to buy the food they need, via a voucher scheme at the best price available.”