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Child going hungry at school. WWYD?

(33 Posts)
Ujjayi Wed 20-Jul-16 12:06:55

DS came home upset yesterday as his friend has confided in him that most days he has very little lunch (a sausage roll for example) or none at all. Mum lost her job last year and ex doesn't give financial support for DCs. I know the mum to chat to but we aren't close. She is very private about stuff like this, understandably, and wouldn't want to be seen "losing face" by asking for help.

I feel like I should do something but don't know what. DS shared his lunch with his friend yesterday. I told DS I was happy to make double so that he could give his friend a lunchbox (as discreetly as possible) to ensure he ate over the next few days. DS feels friend would be embarrassed and not want to be seen to be a charity case.

I'd really be grateful for any advice. I am sat here feeling awful for this child and his parent but not knowing what I can do to help.

Gladysmum Wed 20-Jul-16 12:07:52

I think you need to speak to the school and make them aware

Gladysmum Wed 20-Jul-16 12:08:04

Ps your sons a sweetheart

LemonBreeland Wed 20-Jul-16 12:09:46

Definitely speak to the school. Is it possible he is entitled to free school meals anyway?

Your son is a good friend.

LIZS Wed 20-Jul-16 12:09:50

How old are they? I would think he might be eligible for fsm but whether his mum would explore that is another matter. You could have a quiet word with the teacher.

mouldycheesefan Wed 20-Jul-16 12:11:43

Speak to school discreetly.

Ujjayi Wed 20-Jul-16 12:11:45

Gladysmum - that's what I thought. I'm just fearful of coming across as an interfering type person. Should I contact Head of Year or Head Teacher?

And thank you for your words re DS. He is very compassionate and cannot bear to see people struggle with anything of any kind.

Ujjayi Wed 20-Jul-16 12:12:36

LIZS They are in Year 7 (age 12) with only 3 days left in school for this academic year.

Lucy90 Wed 20-Jul-16 12:14:26

Also with holidays coming up, would you be able to have friend over for afternoons/sleepovers etc in an attempt to feed him up a bit then? His mum will probably struggle more with children at home all day wanting food

Ujjayi Wed 20-Jul-16 12:14:37

Lemonbreeland Not sure if he is eligible for fsm. He's been taking his own lunch certainly for the last year since Mum lost job. DS used to comment that friend was always super interested in what other people took for lunch but didn't really notice that he didn't have much himself.

Ujjayi Wed 20-Jul-16 12:15:41

Lucy90 I told DS to invite friend over next week for exactly that reason. Am trying to think of all the discreet ways in which I can help without seemingly helping, iyswim.

Arfarfanarf Wed 20-Jul-16 12:21:22

If it is true that his mum is putting her pride before her son's need for food, I can't see what would be achieved by telling the school. She shouldn't need the school to tell her to feed her son. She knows.

The alternative of course is that the boy, knowing how terribly tight things are, is choosing to take something tiny out of a desire to help his mum. In which case the school having a tactful word might enable his mum to sit down and reassure him.

so - I'd assume the best of her rather than the worst and have a word with the school and trust that they would handle it well.

I would also pack up loads and have them share it. Because I can't bear to think of a child going hungry. Oh god my mum's packed me loads again, help me out? Or oh that sausage roll looks lovely, want to swap it for these sarnies?

And yes, I'd have him over in the holidays and feed him. It's horrible to think of a child being hungry.

LemonBreeland Wed 20-Jul-16 12:25:08

I only mentioned fsm as you mentioned in your OP that his Mum had lost her job last year. It seems likely he would be eligible.

He is lucky to have your son as a friend, and you looking out for him.

redhat Wed 20-Jul-16 12:25:52

I think you need to report this to school. Its a child protection issue.

Ujjayi Wed 20-Jul-16 12:32:24

Arfarfanarf When I say she's proud I mean that she would find it hard to ask for help. We live in a relatively affluent area and there's a lot of unspoken pressure for everything to be going swimmingly (something that I manage to steer clear of, thankfully!).

I've just spoken with lovely deputy head who has reassured me they will make sure that the friend has something to eat - they are happy to provide meals for rest of term and look at longer-term solutions for them too, if necessary.

He also explained that neither me nor DS will be mentioned in any conversations with the parent or friend but simply that they have "noticed".

Thank you all for your responses. Very much appreciated.

Jackie0 Wed 20-Jul-16 12:36:29

The neglect of this boy is a more important issue than the the mother losing face.
As a previous poster said , it's a child protection issue.
You have no idea what's going in this boy's life. You think he gets fed at home and it's just the school lunch that gets skipped ? Doesnt seem very likely .
Report it , you're not helping him with this tiptoeing around trying to save embarrassment.

KP86 Wed 20-Jul-16 12:39:22

When you have him over during the summer, can you do some sort of baking activities and then the boy takes home what he makes?

Pasta bake with tuna and cheese, fried rice, cupcakes etc.

Under the guise of teaching your DS how to cook. Bonus is that it will be true - your DS will be learning how to cook!

Scarydinosaurs Wed 20-Jul-16 12:41:08

You sound like a lovely mum. I'm so pleased there has been a resolution. No child should be going hungry.

Ujjayi Wed 20-Jul-16 12:42:53

Jackie0 I completely agree which is why I have reported it to school now.

I hope I haven't depicted the mother in a negative way. I don't mean that she doesn't care but simply that she is trying to do the best she can by herself and clearly now that is falling short.

Ujjayi Wed 20-Jul-16 12:44:44

KP86 that's a great idea! And I love cooking with the kids so it wouldn't be totally out of character.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Scarydinosaurs Wed 20-Jul-16 12:47:51

Ujj you haven't at all. I really hope she gets the help she needs.

The cooking sounds really fun! I hope you enjoy it.

AlwaysDancing1234 Wed 20-Jul-16 12:48:41

OP I'm glad you've spoken to school and they seem to be taking action. Maybe invite the boy round in the holidays and cook a couple of big roast dinners so it's less obvious you are trying to feed him up IYSWIM.
It can be very hard to reach out and ask for help not really sure how you could raise it with the mum without coming across as interfering (sorry not helpful)

WannaBe Wed 20-Jul-16 12:51:47

"When you have him over during the summer, can you do some sort of baking activities and then the boy takes home what he makes?" That might work with primary aged children but twelve/thirteen year olds would be another issue entirely.

This is very difficult, because the kids are now at an age where you can't discretely feed them - they know exactly what is what and why you're doing what you're doing.

OP you've done the right thing in speaking to school, but I agree this may not be a child protection issue, he may simply be taking less because of feeling his mum is struggling, or perhaps even he's not very good at making his own packed lunch and ends up just grabbing something out of the fridge iyswim. I know if I gave my DS the responsibility of making his own lunch he'd probably grab crisps and a chocolate bar on his way out of the door and remember when he got to school that he'd forgotten to bring anything substantial. grin.

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