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,