One of the issues with the coronavirus-enforced lockdown is that school children are no longer getting access to free meals.
For many kids around the world from impoverished families, free school meals were vital to their daily nutrition.
In the English town of Grimsby, 34 percent of children are living in poverty, and 41 percent of children are on free school meal programs.
That’s why the work being done by Zane Powles, assistant headteacher at Western Primary School in Grimsby, is so important.
The former soldier is hauling around a huge rucksack packed with school lunches and weighing over 18 kilograms to children in need during lockdown.
He visits 78 children each day on his five mile journey through northeast Lincolnshire.
Headteacher Kim Leach and another teacher are delivering a further 25 meals by car to children who stay a bit further out.
“It’s a big team effort for sure. I look like I’m doing the donkey work, but it really isn’t just me,” Powles said.
#Coronavirus: Teacher walks miles to deliver kids' free meals in lockdown.
Zane Powles loads his backpack and delivers dozens of packed lunches to children from disadvantaged families in Grimsby.
— SkyNews (@SkyNews) April 10, 2020
It’s not only the food, but also the personal touch during lockdown
The former army man’s routine involves placing the lunch on each doorstep, knocking and then stepping back to ensure social distancing practice while waiting to confirm the food is picked up.
I’m Zane #zaneyteacher (Mr Powles) in this video. I would just like to say thank you very much for these lovely words. I just set out to do the right thing for our children & families & never expected this attention. I feel quite overwhelmed & embarrassed. Thank you again.
— Zane (@zaneyteacher) April 8, 2020
He sometimes has a quick chat with parents and children to see that all is well.
Powles says the parents enjoy the adult interaction which they have missed during lockdown. For the scholars, Powles’ presence suggests a degree of normalcy and a sense of familiarity to how their lives were before the lockdown. It helps keep them connected and cared about.
“There is a lot of poverty in the area, and some families are struggling,” said Leach. I’ve had parents call me up. Telling me how worried they are about getting food, and we are a lifeline for some of them.”
“Our school tagline is ‘The School That Cares’. And we really do care about our children, we will do almost anything for them,” the headteacher added.
The UK government recently announced a scheme to provide £15 supermarket vouchers each week for every child who qualifies.
Image credit: Screenshot ITV News & BBC East Yorks And Lincs