A mum has shared her despair as she and her husband are cutting back on their meals so that their children can eat. The parents have made the decision as the cost of living crisis intensifies.
Kallie Speariett, from Clubmoor, Liverpool, said she and her husband are currently having to reduce what they eat so that they can continue to give their two children proper meals. The family have a household income of around £18,000.
Kallie, who helped to set up a food pantry for other struggling families in the Clubmoor area, was speaking to BBC Radio 4 today about the need to extend free school meals to more households amid soaring inflation and energy costs.
She and her partner both work part-time and top up their wages with Universal Credit, the Liverpool Echo reports. However they earn above the threshold to qualify for free school meals for their kids.
There are growing calls for the government to extend free school meals to all families on Universal Credit amid the current crisis. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has spoken out on this and is backing the Feed the Future campaign for free school meals to be extended to around 800,000 more children who are “the most vulnerable in society”.
Kallie said free school meals for her children would be a big deal for her family as they battle the cost crisis. She said: “We have to do packed lunches, we couldn’t afford to pay for school meals, that’s £5 a day to come out of our family budget, that would be £25 a week and we can do packed lunches for a lot less.
“When I look at friends who have got similar aged children who are completely on benefits, me and my husband actually both work part-time, they actually end up with more disposable income at the end of the month than we do.
“Having (free) school meals for the children would make such a huge impact for us, it’s not just about the meals, it also puts more money into the school and makes our children eligible for things like holiday clubs.
“I would know they have had a really good meal at lunch time, so when things are really tight, it means we could do a smaller meal at tea time, which would help with our family budget.”
Asked about what she is cutting back on during the cost of living crisis, Kallie added: “I’m cutting back on what I feed myself and my husband, I’m trying not to cut back on what we feed the children, obviously it might get to that point as it gets colder and we are putting the heating on more – if I knew they had had a good meal at school it would be really helpful.”