Teesside fitness trainer donates 3,000 children's meals

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image copyrightMike Hind
image captionMike Hind paid for the meals himself as he had no time to fundraise

A fitness trainer has responded to the outcry over inadequate free school food parcels by donating 3,000 meals.

Mike Hind, 37, from Teesside, said the pictures he saw made him think: "This is for a rabbit, not a child".

He paid for the meals himself because there was no time to fundraise but a local dairy donated milk and Morrisons supermarket donated fruit, he said.

"I've had people who've been walking two and three miles for these meals," he said.

image copyrightZoe Smith
image captionZoe Smith's "insulting" school meal parcel had items with a use-by date of the next day

Mr Hind extended his offer to any child in the area who needed it, not just those eligible for free school meals.

"I'm trying to be a role model for my kids to understand that there are people who are less fortunate and its always important to be kind, to share," he said.

Zoe Smith, from Redcar, sent Mr Hind a picture of a food parcel she described as "a complete insult".

"It was like being thrown scraps off a table," she said.

"This week's was rotten fruit, more beans, one soup and some bread."

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said vouchers would be offered instead from next week but Ms Smith said her school had warned that it had not confirmed they would be using them.

image copyrightZoe Smith
image captionZoe Smith said the parcels did not come when she was told they would, so had to last for longer than four days

Mr Hind started raising donations and organising food and care parcels when Covid forced him to temporarily shut his gym and online meal business.

He raised £33,600 and gave 3,000 ten-day meal hampers to children across Redcar and Cleveland over Christmas.

"I started selling shoes on a car boot sale. I understand what it's like to not have anything," he said.

"I got an MBE off the Queen for my work on Teesside - no way am I going to stop now.

"I believe in paying it forward."

image copyrightMike Hind
image captionMike Hind said they had also offered vegan and halal options

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