Teacher carries heavy bags and walks 5-miles a day to deliver packed meals for his students

It was India’s former president, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam who said that teaching is a noble profession. Educators shape the character, caliber, and future of an individual. Now that schools all over the world are closed, and academic calendars are still in limbo, teachers are forced to stay at home.

However, not even the COVID-19 pandemic could extinguish the genuine kindness of Western Primary School’s Zane Powles. This assistant headteacher from a school in Grimsby, England, carries 39 lbs. of packed meals for students around his neighborhood.

Teacher carrying school lunches packed by kitchen staff.
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When Powles heard of schools shutting down, he realized how other students who relied on schools for their afternoon meals. “My first thought was, how are we going to get our children meals? We have vulnerable families that need help, so we had to come up with a plan.” Powles said in an interview with Good Morning America.

The school’s administration couldn’t send the state-sponsored meals from campus. At the same time, families are reluctant to leave their houses in fear of the pandemic. As a result, 41% of the students entitled to the school’s free meals will be in danger of not receiving meals, which most families rely on amidst the state’s food insecurity.

Kitchen staff helping the teacher.

Aside from food packs made by the school’s kitchen staff, Powles bring something as valuable—he drops off homework for the kids to work during the quarantine period. Ever since he started delivering, Powles was able to observe his students personally. He could track their progress and assess how they are coping with the challenges of the pandemic.

“One of the students rushed to the door with his parents the other day and goes, ‘Mr. Powles is here, he’s saved the world,’ which was lovely to hear,” Powles said enthusiastically. “You can just tell how much this means to the parents and the children. It’s written on their faces.”

Powles also made an equally remarkable impact. He was able to rally support from other teachers as well. Headteacher Kim Leach, Powles’ fellow faculty in his school, delivers 25 lunches by car to students who live further from the school.

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Powles and his fellow teachers also call their students’ families to check on them every week. The team effort among Western Primary School’s teachers, parents, and kitchen staff has made the pandemic less burdensome to the most vulnerable people of the community.

It takes a lot of effort from Powles to deliver all the packed meals. Still, the smiles and appreciation from the families he visited make up for his exhaustion. Rest assured that his students are in good hands.

Here’s a video of Zane Powles’ remarkable story: