BLACK Country MPs have agreed parents should expect more from their free school meal parcels than has been seen in some of the images shared on social media this week.

The parcels are being funded by the government to ensure little ones normally in receipt of free school meals don't go hungry while schools are shut due to the pandemic following a high profile campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford.

But the issue has been making national headlines this week after the campaigning sports star took to Twitter with an example of items provided to say they were "just not good enough".

Parents across the country have since been sharing images of packages they have received which the government is funding to the tune of £15 each per week.

Stourbridge News:

One mum from Stourbridge, Jodie Massey, who sent us the above picture, said: "Our school hamper to last one child two weeks... definitely not £30 worth of food here."

She was quick to add: "I am not saying what’s here isn’t a help as anything to anyone right now would come in handy but to try and justify £30 on this is ridiculous."

Stourbridge News:

Serena Shilton also shared the above image of supplies received and said: "My potatoes were soft though and the carrots like rubber."

Some Facebook posters said they should be thankful for what they've been given but others agreed the parcels pictured looked a little lacking - with one describing the photos as "dreadful" and saying "£30 for that lot? You couldn’t feed a child for two weeks on that parcel."

Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb said has had not received any correspondence about the quality of free school meals but she added: "I know there are issues in some parts of the country – something the Prime Minister’s spokesperson has said is unacceptable and I couldn't agree more.

"I understand the Department for Education (DfE) is urgently looking into this.

"My view is the standard of food delivered must be of good nutritional quality, be able to actually feed the recipients for the required time and actually be worth the money.

"If companies supplying it do not meet those standards then I would hope schools and parents would report it so it can be looked into. If any company is profiteering by not supplying good quality food then I hope swift action is taken."

Dudley South MP Mike Wood said he too had not been contacted with any concerns but he told the News parents and taxpayers "should expect rather more" than they appear to have been getting.

He said of the scheme: "All schools will be refunded up to £15 per week for every child eligible for free school meals. This is an increase on the £11.50 per child per week that schools are given to prepare FSM meals during term-time.

"While it is up to schools or their caterers to decide what to put into the parcels, they must meet the standards that the Department for Education sets out for school meals, and the specific guidance that has been published for food parcels to make sure that they are nutritious and suitable for families to prepare at home.

"It might be that the photo that has been circulating on social media is of a parcel that was prepared for a school before the standards were published and before schools knew they would be getting the money back up to £15 per child. "However, both families involved and taxpayers more broadly should expect rather more from the £15 per week budget than seems to have been included in those particular photos.”

Councillor Ruth Buttery, Dudley Council's cabinet member for children and young people, said the local authority has been working hard "to ensure no child goes hungry" and she stressed: "We will continue to support families during these difficult times."

She said the council's in-house catering service has ordered food to provide hampers for the next two weeks which will be distributed next week to schools that have opted to provide hampers.

Some schools have opted to provide vouchers instead and those will be distributed directly to parents.

Cllr Buttery said schools had been given the option to "choose between school hampers or vouchers in order to suit their individual circumstances" and she added: “I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the amazing staff involved in providing families with free school meals. They really have worked incredibly hard to turn things round quickly which I am sure will be welcomed by the families who need this support.

“We also extend our support to anyone who is struggling to afford food and other essentials as a result of the pandemic through our Covid-19 emergency assistance grant. Further details can be found on our website.”

A spokesman for Dudley Council said the parcel sent to Jodie Massey had been supplied by Dolce which supplied all food parcels for Hawbush Primary School and which also provides catering for Newfield Park, Halesowen C of E, Cradley C of E, Our Lady & St Kenelm and Fairhaven Primary School.

He said schools make individual decisions about who provides their school catering - adding that Dudley Council provides catering for 70 schools in the borough plus five Wolverhampton schools.

Dudley Council's free school meals parcel that is being sent out to parents includes:

1 x loaf of best of both medium bread

1 x Bella baked beans 400g

6 x eggs

1 x whole-wheat pasta twist (500g

1 x pasta sauce (mixed herb 500g)

10 x butter portions

6 x jacket potato (5oz)

1 x can of tuna (400g)

2 x sweetcorn tins (326g)

2 x fresh carrots (raw and whole)

10 x red apples (1kg)

5 x carrot cake

5 x lemon drizzle

1 x UHT milk (500ml)

5 x Kiri cheese portion

Let us know your thoughts on this issue by leaving a comment below or on our social channels.