Teacher delivers 7,500 free school meals on foot since start of lockdown

19 July 2020, 08:27

Zane Powles walked over 550 miles during lockdown delivering free school meals
Zane Powles walked over 550 miles during lockdown delivering free school meals. Picture: @Zaneyteacher

By Megan White

A teacher who has hand-delivered 7,500 free school meals to his students in Grimsby since the start of lockdown said he was "inundated with support.”

Zane Powles, assistant headteacher at Western Primary School, began handing out free school meals on foot 17 weeks ago, delivering his final meal on Friday.

The 48-year-old 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.

Mr Powles said: "When lockdown happened 17 weeks ago now, I was really concerned about our children.

Zane Powles delivered 7,500 meals on foot during lockdown
Zane Powles delivered 7,500 meals on foot during lockdown. Picture: @Zaneyteacher

"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.

He added: "I've been inundated with support from the families we deliver to, and also the community as a whole.

"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.

He said: "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.

"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."

You can read more about his Capital City Castles cycle and donate to his fundraising page here.