20 December 2013

Banking on Food

Late this afternoon, three of us went over to The Thomas Project in Lancaster Avenue, Aldridge to drop off our Christmas donation to the Black Country Food Bank.

I had always thought that any donations would be sorted and distributed centrally. Not so. If you take food and other donations to Aldridge they are used in Aldridge, unless there is a large surplus. For some reason this piece of knowledge touched me. Perhaps it's something to do with Aldridge being considered one of the more affluent areas of Walsall, not even worthy of a youth centre any more. Yet here we are in the 21st century and Aldridge has its very own food bank because there are people here that for whatever reason, find themselves in need of the emergency three day supply of food that is supplied to anyone who is given a voucher by certain agencies.

We had added lots of Christmas type treats to our donation and I'm so glad that we did because the sheet that I was allowed to take describing what is supplied to a single person as the basics for three days is not luxurious. Take a look and remember that say for a family of four then the amounts are multiplied by four.

Item Amount

Cereal 1 Small packet or 4 single servings
Soup OR Cup a Soup 2 std cans or pkts
Beans OR spaghetti 1 std can
Tomatoes 1 std can
Vegetables 2 std cans
Tinned potatoes/Mash 1 sml
Meat OR Veggie Option 1 small can
Ready Meal 1 sml pky/can
Sav.Rice OR pasta OR noodles 1 pkt rice, pasta OR 2 pkt noodles
Fish 1 sml can
Fruit 1 std can
Rice pudding or Dessert 1 std can/pkt
Biscuits 1 sml pkt
Sugar 250g
Pasta/Dried spaghetti/Rice Small – 500g
Pasta/Cooking Sauce 1 regular
Tea or coffee 20 bags/small jar
Fruit juice UHT 1 carton or 4 ind. Cartons
Milk UHT or powdered 2 x ½ litre or 4 ind. Cartons
Baby milk or food Dependent on age

Sauce or cooking ingredient 1
Chocolate/Sweets 1 sml
Healthy snacks 3 individual (1 per day)
Peanut butter/Jam/Marmalade 1

When Iain Duncan Smith walked out of the food bank debate the other night and when all those MPs voted against the motion, did they for one moment, consider what it is to find yourself in the situation where you are issued with a voucher to use at a food bank and also what food is then given to you. It isn't luxurious. It's basic and there's nothing fresh there for very obvious reasons.

If you've a few tins spare or pasta or rice or you've some home made jams, chutneys, mince pies, can I urge you to pop down to your local food bank, you can find details HERE for the Black Country, before Christmas Day and put a smile on someone's face at a time when they personally have little to smile about.

Thank you and a very Merry Christmas to all who read my mad ramblings.

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