I write this blog post with a sense of trepidation. I don’t want to pretend to be something I am not. I have no bleeding heart, I’m not someone who gives to every charity box I come across. I did work in a local charity shop as a volunteer in my teens, but alas it was to complete my Duke of Edinburgh award. I just want to be honest about where I’m coming from I guess.
Caveat over. Here’s what I wanted to write about – did you watch The Great British Budget Menu? There are 3 days left to watch it on iplayer if you didn’t catch it. I’m not going to enter the debate about how good the programme was as I know people have very strong feelings about the chefs not coming in on budget, blowing the budget and treating the family to a side of salmon and indeed making dishes that might be cheap on ingredients but actually cost a lot to make through use of gas/electricity.
Anyway, for me the point was that it made me think. As I sat in my house, not worrying about how to feed my family, it haunted me. Was I the only one left thinking about people living within walking distance of my home who are hungry? So hungry they’re drinking tea instead of eating, just so their children can eat? I know I’m not the only person who slept badly that night.
So on Saturday morning I gave the boys a bag each and we cleared out our cupboards with a view to giving the food to a local food bank. We managed to fill 3 carrier bags with food that was in date and that frankly we won’t miss. How often have I thrown food away that’s out of date? It’s sickening isn’t it. I have no excuses. We took the bags to our local church and placed them in a marked box in the entrance and then we went home and I started to feel something rising in my stomach. Anger? Rabid motivation? Something.
Direct debits to charity can feel like a huge commitment. Buying extra food and putting it into a bin at the end of the checkout can feel like a weekly budget stretch too far. But clearing out your cupboards? It’s easy, it’s immediate, it’s a way of diverting potential waste if you’re a bit of a cupboard hoarder. For me it’s a lazy way to help, which means people might just do it. (Clearly that’s not to say that direct cash donations and cans donated at the till side aren’t welcome.) But, any help is welcome, even the lazy variety. Can you spare anything from your cupboard? Don’t forget it MUST be in date – the charities can’t distribute out of date food and being given anything that’s out of date just gives them a headache in terms of disposing of it. #clearouthunger
But where do you take it? I’m afraid I don’t have a one size fits all answer. I do have a collection of resources you can scour to find your nearest place to donate. It might take 10 – 15 minutes of your time to search. It’s not a huge investment of time.
- First up check out your local church, even if you’re not religious – this isn’t about beliefs other than wanting to help. They often have a box in the entrance area.
- Have a look in your supermarket if that’s where you buy your food from. Do it before your shop – and if they don’t have a box for food donations ask at the customer service desk. If enough people ask then they will start to provide them in every store.
- Ask your local pals on facebook and twitter, you might be surprised who’s already in the know.
- Sounds obvious but use google – literally type in the name of the place you live and ‘food banks donate’ and see what comes up.
- The Trussell Trust – they are a Christian organisation but arrange to distribute food to people of any belief
- The Guardian have crowd sourced a map
I haven’t included individual locations as I thought trailing through all the info might be arduous for people. Feel free to comment with details of your local scheme if you like though. I hope you can find the time and spare the food to clear out your cupboards. #clearouthunger
P.S. If you want to know more about the UK hunger problem from the horse’s mouth so to speak then check out this blog.
Get the monthly newsletter...
and subscribe to get all recipes straight to your inbox!
Holly, well done for doing this. I watched the programme close to tears. Putting food on the table is so important and it made me cry to think of families with two people working full time who could not enjoy good food together without worrying. Food should bring pleasure to our lives three times a day. We do not know the back stories of the people featured but it does not matter. They had all been able to eat well in earlier years, knew how to do it but could not manage it now for whatever combination of reasons. How soul destroying – literally. I will be donating next time I am in town.
I saw it and felt the same as you. I contacted Sainsburys and Ocado where I do my online shopping and have asked them to enable me to add food for food banks on their websites. Non of the collection points near where I live are such that I can get a supermarket delivery to them. My husband buys his lunch at a Tesco Metro and they have a collection point after the checkouts so he can easily add something. I think people want to give but it isn’t always made easy for us to do so. Let’s make a harder effort! Thanks for writing this blog post.
Your post is great. You shouldn’t feel bad about writing it. If we can give to others who are in greater need then ourselves, then we should. End of.
Thanks, sometimes I wonder if a middle class Mum who bakes and cooks for a living sounds like a fool talking and worrying about hunger. Hard to gauge. x
I reading Jack’s blog with embarrassed tears. i thought we were struggling a bit but that just means no meat in the week and only homemade bread and sweet things, nothing like the things I have been reading about. I will clear out my cupboards today and go to the food bank. I will take the kids and explain what we are doing and why we are doing it.
We didn’t watch the programme but think your blog post is fab and will certainly get people thinking! My 7 year old son has a dream to start his own restaurant one day where he wants to feed the poor for free – that has been all his own thinking and we hope to encourage him to go for it. The more people who do their bit the better because in this day and age it is not right that people go hungry both here and around the world. x
Great post! I love that you did your bit :) definitely makes me think I should do the same.
Do it! It’s so easy! Xx
Really nicely written Holly. We’re fortunate in that my children’s nursery is very involved with the local food banks so we are actively encouraged and often reminded to donate! My local Sainsbo’s also often has a collection bank set up, but for me I don’t see why they can’t have it there permanently – it’s always full when it’s out, people don’t think twice about buying an extra bag of pasta or a tin of value beans, and the difference it makes when it is donated I imagine is the difference between someone going hungry, or not. It’s a no brained really isn’t it?
Total no brainier… If it’s easy people do it.
Great idea I bought a large bag of Pasta plus a jar of sauce in Tesco in Chesterfield they were having a massive collection, sadly not at the Sheffield Store where we live. I did think about the 2 large bags of pasta I had here and will perhaps not use so I will ask at our church and see if they will pass them on, or even start a collection for the area..
Good for you Kasper! X
Yes i watched and like you was affected by it, but if im honest, im so comfortable i forget to get things for the box in my church. Ive no excuse yet still i forget. So thanks for the reminder.
We all forget. I am going to set a reminder on my phone once a week from now on. X
Comments are closed.