Last September; I took part in a week long challenge to live off a ‘typical’ food bank donation with only an extra £5 to spend to add any other items to create meals and add any snacks or luxury items. I did this challenge for a number of reasons; to challenge myself as I’m always eating a wide variety of food and spend a considerable amount on this, to get a better appreciation of the struggles that an increasing number of people face to feed themselves and their families and to raise awareness of the issues that deprivation can cause in terms of affording food and the risk of becoming homeless.
With 83,000 young people experiencing homelessness across the UK each year it is now becoming increasingly more vital to support and raise awareness of the difficulties of homelessness. In addition to this, there’s also the struggle of affording food. Further to this, with the number of people needing to access food banks on the rise, so I felt that I would try and do my bit to help those in need. When Broxtowe Youth Homelessness Charity asked me to take part in this challenge to help raise money and awareness, I was more than happy to do so.
I’ve attached the sample menu that I followed during the week to give you a good idea of how a food bank donation can be used. For each day of the challenge three meals were listed, a breakfast meal which often consisted of toast or cereal of which I fell back on during the week as I’m very greedy so I made a fair dent in the giant box of own brand cornflakes I bought. For lunch it was often sandwiches, soups or instant noodles and to begin with this was ok, however, the meals soon got very monotonous as the sandwiches could only consist of the food on the list or with items I’d bought using the £5 top up I had. The dinners were more varied but these were heavily reliant on long life products such as rice and tinned items.
I really struggled with Friday’s dinner a hot dog and pea omelette as the quality was really poor and there was no taste to it. I found fried rice with hot dogs similarly unappetising and beyond these cheap and poor quality items such as tinned chilli, packet noodles, packets of pasta and tins of soup made it a really challenging week. Overall, I found the week quite a challenge for a number of reasons. These were; lack of choice, lack of quality / nutritious food and a more limited amount of food compared to what I’d usually eat. The thing I missed the most was eating out as I do that fairly regularly. Again, this links to the choice that is taken away when you need a food parcel to get by, there’s little fresh produce and the choice can become restricting. Even though some might think it may not be too unhealthy, having to get by using a food bank could limit the fresh items you could afford to eat and it’s also very cheap to buy unhealthy items such as biscuits to satisfy your hunger.
The work that Broxtowe Youth Homelessness Charity do is vital, please support them via their donation page. At this point I’d also like to thank people that supported me during this challenge, in particular local business Luna Blinds for their kind donation of £48.
This review is written honestly and I wasn’t paid for this work. As always, I try and write a fair and balanced review that gives people an insight into the challenge I undertook.
Location: Broxtowe Youth Homelessness, 1 Church Street, Stapleford, Nottingham, NG9 8DE.
Phone number: 0115 939 6760