A HASLINGDEN woman who has started a food box donation service has said parents didn't know what to do when receiving small free school meal packages.

Samara Barnes, who launched Haslingden Food Box back in March, has said that the national issue has however seen more people in the community donating food to the box to help vulnerable families locally.

Samara has said that after seeing a viral tweet from a disgruntled mother about her childs free school meal package, she asked families she knew were struggling to reach out about what they had received to understand how the situation looked more locally.

She said: "Quite quickly I had messages from different parents from different schools because all schools had a different offer.

"What was really quite disturbing is just how different the offer was in every schools and just how little there was available for parents to be making lunches from."

Samara said some the packages she saw were not acceptable, with one package for a week of lunches not even including any fresh fruit or vegetables.

The viral tweet from @roadsidemum showed the package she has received including two carrots, two potatoes, a tin of baked beans and a small range of other food items, which she said was supposed to last her child 10 days, however it has since been revealed by Chartwells, the company that issued the package, that the food package was to last five days.

She added: "The thing the families were concerned about was they were hoping they would receive those parcels and it would be a relief.

"They ended up having to think 'what do I do now' because there just wasn't enough food there."

Haslingden Food Box is located on Ryefield Avenue and after its success, more of the food boxes have appeared in Rossendale.

The box contains food for people to help themselves to what they need, whilst others who have food to spare can donate items to the box to help struggling families.

Government guidance states the lunch parcels should contain items which parents can use to prepare healthy lunches for their child/children across the week and not rely on parents having additional ingredients at home to prepare meals.

The guidance has now been amended, stating that from Monday (January 18) schools have the “freedom to decide on the best approach for their pupils” - whether that be lunch parcels, local vouchers or the government’s national voucher scheme.