Last night I couldn’t sleep (despite a very filling dinner) so watched a film in bed. I was very tempted to have a snack to help me stay awake but managed to restrain myself! A lie in the next day as I had a day off made it a bit easier to get from breakfast through to lunchtime (as there was less time between them). Even this was a luxury though – I usually work 12-hour shifts and I don’t know how I’d manage to do that on £1 a day worth of food, and lots of people have other responsibilities to get up for too!
I have found myself thinking about food a lot recently – whether that is the psychological effect of being limited in what I’m eating or a genuine desire to have a bag of crisps every five minutes I’m not sure! So far neither of us have felt desperately hungry which is a relief, although I think it’s fair to say we’ve both been a little grumpier than usual!
We made some stuffing sandwiches for lunch (an unusual but cheap filling which we both could agree on!). I had to unexpectedly rush into work for a late shift, so I took some of the leftover sauce with rice for dinner. I left it as late as possible before I ate, because I wasn’t finishing until midnight and wanted to string it out as long as I could but I finally cracked at about half nine. It was slightly torturous when people were passing round mini eggs and ordering McDonalds but I managed to restrain myself!
Norwich foodbank is heavily reliant on volunteers and during the pandemic, the charity has been delighted, humbled and at times overwhelmed with the generosity of time offered by exisiting volunteers to take on new roles or more tasks, and new people wanting to get involved because they can.
Pre-covid, the charity utilised around 200 volunteers across it’s 10 distribution centres, in the warehouse, in the office, in the transport team, at the holiday project FISH and at supermarket colelctions. Some volunteers helped weekly, others on a rota perhaps fortnightly or monthly and others on an adhoc basis.
Since March 2020, the charity has worked in quite a different way – not least with all centres closed and a 100% delivery model in palce – and currently has around 90 active volunteers involved regularly.
I made pancakes for breakfast with flour, oil and water, as we are running low on milk (oat and soya) I used up all the mixture cooking them for my daughter, so I don’t have breakfast. I am well enough (and chubby enough!) to miss the odd meal, unlike so many of the people who use the Foodbank, who often look unwell and malnourished.
I eat plain rice for lunch. I feel tired and hungry. Food is no longer something to look forward to but has just become functional. And boring. I spend a lot of my life thinking about food – it’s one of my greatest pleasures, especially cooking for others (not so possible in lockdown) but now it just feels bleak. I am already longing for the end of the week and the prospect of homemade pizza, roast veggie Sunday lunch… and I have heartburn (probably because of what I’m eating), so I’m feeling miserable. I have also put on 3lb, which is probably because my diet this week has been loads of carbs (white rice, flour, sugar, cheap biscuits – which were really horrible, but I ate them anyway). I wont even comment on my digestive system… Vegan diets are not necessarily healthy, especially if they have very little fruit or vegetables. How must it feel to have to live like this for more than a few days? Or to always have the worry that it might be like this again?
Norwich foodank can cater for all sorts of dietary needs and often those served with specific requirements are the most grateful because these foods can be more expensive or harder to source (i.e. not available at a corner shop). So far in February, the foodbank hadeliver 352 food parcels and of these, 74 have been ‘specially’ made due to cooking facilities or dietary needs. Boxes of food that delivered usually need cooking with a hob and sometimes an oven (for example a Fray Bentos pie), but some people only have a microwave or kettle – especially those in temporary accomodation – and some have nothing at all (not necesarily homeless but quite often the case) so the charity ensures that not only the recipient receives a ‘full’ parcel, but that it is all appropriate for their circumstances.
With regards to dietary requirements, requests are made for vegetarian, Halal, diabetic, food allergy such as nuts and lactose and all are made to the best of the volunteer’s ability. This message was received from someone the foodbank delivered too:
‘I have a milk allergy and we are both vegan for compassionate as well as health reasons, and could not believe how thoughtfully the boxes had been packed. We want to extend out profound gratitude for what you have done for us and to let you know that your efforts have made our lives a tiny bit less awful.’