An award-winning “hero” teacher in England who spent each day preparing food for his students has made his final delivery—after delivering 7,500 packed lunches.
Zane Powles diligently prepared 85 lunches each morning after fearing his students would struggle to access food when school’s were shut during the pandemic.
The determined teacher walked 7.5 miles every day making his rounds for 17 weeks—and totaled over 600 miles over the course of his runs in North East Lincolnshire.
The 48-year-old estimates that he carried roughly four tons of food during that time, but said it was all “well worth it” after seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces.
When the school—where he packs lunches—closed for the summer on July 17, Zane delivered his final food package on the emotionally charged Friday afternoon.
“When I started these walks I was concerned about the kids and their wellbeing and I wanted to make sure I could see them all, said Zane, who works at Western primary school in the large coastal seaport of Grimsby. “I needed to know if they were safe, if they were healthy, and if they had access to food.”
“After all these months it was a bit emotional for it to come to an end—I love seeing my students and checking up on them. It’s so important to me.
“I’m just doing my job at the end of the day. My role is to help nurture and educate children, and to take care of them.
He added: “I can’t believe how far it’s gotten—I never expected to do any of this, but it’s crucial that it doesn’t end here.
The early riser got to school at 7am to start preparing and packaging the food before heading out on his two-hour journey—and he didn’t take a single day off during the pandemic while undertaking the mammoth task.
While delivering the lunches, he occasionally left his students some homework—which he says they were “less keen on”.
The dad-of-three said, “It’s been relentless and exhausting but it’s been well worth it. They’re always so happy and grateful.”
Zane also commended Manchester United star Marcus Rashford who successfully campaigned for free school meal vouchers for children in the summer.
But said his mission is far from complete and he wants to continue to help children in need.
He will be cycling through all of the UK’s city castles in a journey which will take him 1,500 miles to finish. With stops include Edinburgh Castle, Belfast Castle, Dublin Castle, Cardiff Castle, and the Tower of London, he is raising funds for Meals and More, which provides support to children who live with poverty. You can donate to his cause here.
“In the summer the children’s struggles are invisible to us because we don’t see them, but it’s essential that we ensure they’re safe.”
Zane has always put others first and works as assistant headteacher with challenging students in the school’s behavior unit.
Because of his work, he won the Inspirational Primary School Teacher award in 2019 after he was nominated by a parent.
Speaking at the award ceremony, he said: “We should never give up on children. Having a tough upbringing is never their fault.”
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