Eleanor Wilde

Hungry For Justice

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The REAL food bank fast

Hi there!

Well, the last three days have been interesting. After 40 days of frugal living, with just £15 to feed ourselves every three days, we took a step down in the world from budget eating to food bank eating. After having our pick of the supermarket to spend our pennies in, we struggled to find enough nutritionally-balanced food to fill our basket this time. Since Monday, we have survived on an authentic food bank parcel, with nothing perishable, refridgerated or cooked in the oven. We used nothing from our cupboards and accepted no staff meals or ‘gifts’ from friends and family. Here is what we ate:


Breakfast: Special K almond & honey porridge sachet (27g) with soya milk, 1 frangipane tart

Lunch: Sainsbury’s tinned soup (1 can each) with cream crackers

Snacks: Ginger biscuits, tinned mandarin segments

Dinner: Pasta with tinned lentils, 1 jar red pepper & chilli pasta sauce



Breakfast: Same as Monday

Lunch: 1 tin sprats in tomato sauce on cream crackers

Snacks: Ginger biscuits, tinned peach slices

Dinner: White rice, 1 sachet Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli & Garlic stir fry sauce with tinned carrots and sweetcorn



Breakfast: Same again, this time with no frangipane tart, just ginger biscuits

Lunch: Pasta with 1 jar garlic & onion pasta sauce

Snacks: Same old ginger biscuits!

Dinner: ‘Cock flavour soup mix’ instant soup with noodles, a little rice and 1 tin butter beans in the soup, with cream crackers


We were hungry, almost all the time. Even more so when I was at work, running around a hot kitchen on an empty stomach. The worst meal for me was the sprats, with the sauce reminding me of baked beans, and it was just not filling enough. So this is what many people live with every day. I’m sure the Trussell Trust do a better job than we did; I was shocked by how little we got for our money. This experience was grim, and made us realise how much luxury we had been living in on just £2.50 per person per day. Please don’t underestimate the experience of living in poverty, surviving on handouts and feeling hungry every day. This is not just an experiment, this is real life. We wanted to make a difference, and to that end we are going to give the money we have saved this Lent to three charities which Keith Hebden from End Hunger Fast has recommended to us.

We don’t have much money anyway, with only one minimum wage and help from our families, but we have calculated that we’ve saved £150, which we will split three ways. It’s not too late, if you’ve been touched by our experience or that of Keith on his full 40 day fast, to donate to these very worthwhile causes yourself, and make a real difference to the lives of those in real food poverty. These are the causes we will be supporting:


Southwell & Notts diocese Lent Appeal- Ecoworks/ Edible Churchyards

Find out more here: http://southwell.anglican.org/life-faith/lent-2014/lent-appeal-2014/

The Trussell Trust food bank charity


Sherwood Food Bank-  Mansfield branch, St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Church

This is our local food bank, which Ruth volunteers at, and the money we give to them will be spent on extra supplies for people in need, to supplement their food bank parcel. This could be anything from treats for children to toilet paper, toothpaste and other essentials which people may struggle to afford.


I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog. It’s been an experience which I’ll never forget. Thank you to everyone who has followed, commented and supported the blog. A big thank you to our friends and family, who have kept us going, and most of all to Keith Hebden, whose dedication never ceases to amaze me.

God bless you all and Happy Easter,

Eleanor. 🙂



Ending the Food bank Fast

Hello there!

Well well well, it’s nearly the end! This will be my penultimate post, to recap and end the food bank fast which we have undertaken for a whole 40 days. Keith Hebden had his first meal last night; his 40-day fast is now ended, and he has done really well! He’s adjusting to food again, and we will all have to adjust to taking back the privilege we had before Lent, to be well fed and healthy. I only pray that we don’t forget what we’ve learned, and that we don’t ever stop speaking out against the drastic inequality in our society.

The End Hunger Fast campaign is not quite over, however, and as it ends on Wednesday, Ruth and I are going to hang on for a few more days. Yesterday we spent ages agonising over and eventually purchasing a realistic food bank parcel with our £15, which we thought would last us for 3 days. We have rationed everything down to the last tin, but as the Trussell Trust describe here   we have included some treats as well. We tried to follow their shopping list as closely as possible. Nothing is perishable, or requires a fridge, freezer or oven to cook or store. We are not using anything from our cupboards, not even those amazing mixed herbs which are STILL going. Here is our receipt to prove it:

Not much, is it?

Not much, is it?

We will be having sachets of microwave porridge for breakfast, soup and crackers for lunch and some interesting dinners: Jamaican cup-a-soup mix with butter beans, pasta with tomato sauce, and some stir fry with rice for our dinners.

I did also mention treats: Aldi provided us with some little frangipane cakes and some ginger nut biscuits, which came in handy this morning when we realised that the porridge sachets we had bought are tiny child portions. Honestly. The porridge didn’t even fill a third of a normal-sized bowl. It was quite yummy though 🙂 And having cake for breakfast is great.I  have just had my red pepper, tomato and lentil soup from Sainsbury’s, with crackers, for lunch. It was nice, but I miss being able to cook something for myself! With such a limited shop, though, there’s no chance of making things from scratch. The other downside, so far, is that the food we have bought seems like just enough to keep us going. I have been feeling hungry since breakfast time; I guess we are used to larger portion sizes and more calories.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the most interesting thing I bought (which you may have spotted from the receipt) is this:

If you don't laugh, you're a better person than me.

If you don’t laugh, you’re a better person than me.

All foolishness aside, that one sachet of stock and spices is hopefully going to make a meal for two people, with just a tin of butterbeans added. We had to agonise over every item in our trolley this time, so that we don’t get scurvy/anaemia/low blood sugar. There will be one more post to come from me, on Thursday, letting you know how we did. We will never stop buying Basics range products, drinking cheap coffee or baking soda bread, and not a scrap of our food will be thrown away from now on. These are the things we have learned this Lent; to walk with our Lord in the wilderness and to walk with those who have to live this life every day. We must make the most of what we have, and we must not let people starve in this country. On Thursday, we will also let you know how much we think we have saved, which will be donated to End Hunger Fast.

It’s been a pleasure sharing this journey with you. Until next time,

Eleanor 🙂