After my sort of burnt egg on toast yesterday, I decided to go another way for breakfast and do eggy bread. This worked much better, although interestingly (if you think so!), wasn’t as filling. Maybe I ate it quicker. I still had a headache when I got up so had a glass of lemonade and a mug of fruit tea with breakfast, plus paracetamol. I wouldn’t have been able to afford these on my budget and although of course not technically food / drink, something I always have in the drawer for which I am grateful not to have to specifically budget for. I also have plenty of toilet roll, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, shower gel… Again, I keep stocked up on these essentials and we do give them out with foodbank parcels when requested. We had a referral for a man today who was using newspaper as he had run out of loo roll. I am grateful for my stash of toiletries today.
I got to work and am with Diane today, so got a cup of tea AND a coffee later in the morning. Hooray! With so many in our office building working from home or at least not in the office every day, the communal fridge is pretty empty, so since the first lockdown I’ve rather commandeered the top shelf as ‘ours’ and as the others in the office aren’t in all day, it’s sort of ‘mine’ 🙂 Diane commented that the shelf didn’t have my usual pots of pasta and what would I have lunch today. I told her and we chatted a little about what I was doing and why. We agreed it was important that doing anything like this – including fasting or a bible study or anything we talk about / learn about in a church context (one of my reasons for this is due to wanting to do some kind of Lent reflection), it needed to have lasting change. Like giving up chocolate for Lent just makes you wish Easter Sunday would come quickly or a new year’s resolution is often broken before the end of January! I wrote in my first piece that I wanted to feel more empathy with those we serve and that is totally true, but I also wanted to remember to pray when I felt hungry or frustrated or anything like that and yesterday, I didn’t. I just felt these things. but today I did on a few occasions pray for those we would be serving today, especially when my stomach was making a lot of noise.
We had a referral for a man who was staying in a hotel due to being homeless, but wasn’t allowed ‘back’ (we don’t know what time he left, but presume in the morning) until 7pm, so with our deliveries taking place between 2pm – 5pm, we would need to arrange to meet him somewhere to give him the food parcel. We were really surprised, with the current lockdown / restrictions that this was ‘OK’ and also thought ‘what on earth is he supposed to do?!’ If he’s technically homeless and needing us, he hasn’t got spare money to get on a bus to get warm or go somewhere and even if he did, there’s nowhere to go anyway. And yet when our driver met him and gave the food parcel, he was still able to be grateful.
Today there were 19 households to deliver to and so Keith, Diane and I prepared these for the drivers – getting the boxes out, toiletries picked and packed and loaves from Bread Source (that we receive 3 times a week) bagged up with the day’s EDP (delivered daily, courtesy of Aviva). The drivers came, loaded and went and the 2pm warehouse shift arrived.
At 2.30pm I had my cuppa soup and toast and considered ‘cheating’ with a coffee mid-afternoon but decided against it… Confession is good for the soul…?
I got home at about 5.30pm but decided it was too early to start tea as it wouldn’t take long to cook and I would be hungry later so I did a bit more work and watched TV and ate at about 6.30pm. Tonight’s delight was pasta (of course), some tinned tomatoes, chick peas and 2 tinned hotdogs. This was nowhere near as filling as last night’s tea – maybe the fish gives a little more ‘something’ and the baked beans clearly had more to fill me up than the tomatoes. Another lesson for the coming days and another year.
A glass of lemonade, a fruit tea and carrot sticks made my evening snacks and washing up and family zoom helped to pass the time! I thought about tomorrow – on Fridays I work late and this can mean I’m not home til 7.30pm some weeks. We deliver on Saturday mornings so Keith and I have agreed that he’ll meet the drivers on a Saturday morning, and I’ll get the boxes and toiletries ready the evening before. Referrals come in til 5pm, so we (one of the afternoon volunteers Trevor kindly stays to help) then need to get them all entered and routed before we can get the boxes and extras ready. Anyway, that made me think I’ll need a little more food to take to work and so I’ll take a boiled egg and another piece of bread (still leaves me a slice ‘spare’ for both Saturday and Sunday), plus some tinned tomatoes. I had thought of beans, but after tonight’s dinner, I need these for my evening meal.
Norwich foodbank provides a 3-day foodbank parcel, and also essential toiletries subject to supply, which is healthy thanks to the generous community of supportive donors. Some people request general toiletries, others will ask for specific things and during the first lockdown in 2020, we were pleased to have a healthy stock of toilet rolls before the panic buying set in and shelves were emptied.
The charity also provides nappies and baby food for those who need it and pet food (mainly dog and cat but occasionally hamster and other pet food is donated / requested). Alongside the food parcels, there is often ‘surplus’ food – either short dated items, fresh items (such as bread mentioned above) including eggs and fruit and veg from donors and FareShare which helps the ambient food given stretch that bit further and provides some treats too when we have sweets and crisps to include.
Thank you to all our donors for giving so faithfully and generously.