A teacher in England has spent every day in lockdown preparing food for his students and now has made his final delivery out of a total of 7,500 packed lunches.
Zane Powles is an award-winning ‘hero’ who prepares 85 lunches every morning after he was fearful that his students would struggle to have nutritious food after the schools were shut during the pandemic.
Each day he would walk 7.5 miles, making his rounds for 17 weeks—and totaled over 600 miles throughout his runs in North East Lincolnshire.
The 48-year-old says he carried about four tons of food during and it was all “well worth it” after seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces.
The school where he packs lunches closed for the summer on July 17, but Zane continued delivering 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 upon 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.
The dad-of-three said: “I can’t believe how far it’s gotten—I never expected to do any of this, but it mustn’t end here.
Every day he would reach school at 7 am 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.
He would make it a point to leave some homework—which he says the students were “less keen on”. He added, “It’s been relentless and exhausting but it’s been well worth it. They’re always so happy and grateful.”
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.
“In the summer the children’s struggles are invisible to us because we don’t see them, but we must ensure they’re safe.”
Zane always puts others first and works as an assistant headteacher with challenging students in the school’s behavior unit. 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.”
What an uplifting article about a relentless teacher who never gave up on his students and whose motivation to provide good food to his students kept him going all through the lockdown.