Teacher ‘inundated with support’ as he delivers free school meals on foot

Teacher Zane Powles said he was “inundated with support” as he hand-delivered 7,500 free school meals to his students in Grimsby.

Mr Powles, assistant headteacher at Western Primary School, began handing out free school meals to his students on foot at the beginning of the lockdown, delivering his final meal on Friday.

“When lockdown happened 17 weeks ago now, I was really concerned about our children,” Mr Powles told the PA news agency.

“We have some quite vulnerable children at our school, and some really vulnerable children at our school.”

Mr Powles credited the efforts of footballer Marcus Rashford, who successfully campaigned for free school meal vouchers for children, which means he will not have to continue delivering meals over the summer holiday.

Mr Powles, 48, said the undertaking was a “team effort”, and that while he delivered meals on foot, the school’s headteacher and deputy headteacher delivered meals by car to those further away.

Over the course of lockdown, Mr Powles claims he has walked more than 550 miles to deliver over 7,500 meals to his students.

“I’ve been inundated with support from the families we deliver to, and also the community as a whole,” he told PA.

“Walking around the estate and around neighbours, people have been in their hordes coming out and clapping, people I don’t know, who appreciate and see the effort that’s being done for our kids.”

With the arrival of the school holidays, Mr Powles will be undertaking a cycling challenge around the capital city castles of the British Isles, including the Tower of London, on a 1,500-mile round-trip.

He will be fundraising for special needs charity FLAG, and Meals & More, which aims to help children receive meals during school holidays.

“I won’t be delivering free school meals to the children any more but I will be campaigning for free school meals, certainly through the holidays, it’s then that they need more support because they’re not in a safe space like school,” he told PA.

“Our motto is ‘the school that cares’, and hopefully we’ve showed the children that we care for them in school, and we care for them when they’re not in school.”

To see donations to FLAG and Meals & More, visit: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ZanePowles-Cycle_Capital_City_Castles

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