Hundreds of thousands of people across the UK don’t have the money to be able to provide themselves with enough food to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. As a result, many have to resort to using food banks and other support networks to feed themselves and their families.
As part of a campaign to raise national awareness of the issue, we challenged food banks and homeless shelters – the people who understand the issue best – to live off a £5 food budget for seven days.
Individuals from The Wellspring Stockport, Roundabout, The Brick Homeless Project, Carlisle Foodbank, Food Positive and The Welcome Centre have kindly dedicated a week of their lives to put themselves in the shoes of those who have to turn to food banks or homeless shelters for help.
We know it can be achieved, but we want to uncover what sort of implications such a restricted diet might have, and how it may impact their everyday lives. From start to finish, we’ve asked each individual involved to document their week. Initially, we want to find out what items are available to them with such a budget, and which shops best cater for their stringent food allowance.
We asked them to reveal the variety of meals they were able to incorporate into their diet, and whether or not they had the option to eat healthily.
And, finally, we’ve asked the individuals to reflect on their week: did they notice any changes – mental or physical? Would they have done anything differently? Could they sustain such a budget and diet long-term?
The number of people turning to food banks and homeless shelters is on the rise. According to the Trussell Trust, 913,138 people were supplied with an emergency food parcel in 2013/14 – that’s well over double the previous year’s figures (346,992). In addition, the number of people sleeping rough each night is also on the rise, with 2013’s estimate (2,414 rough sleepers) up 5% from 2012.
This not only means there are more and more people across the country struggling on a daily basis, but food banks and homeless shelters are under increased pressure to meet the demands of the ever-growing footfall.
To meet this rise in demand, such organisations need help. Whether it be supplies, monetary donations or volunteering some of your time, they need your help to alleviate and support this growing problem.
Last but not least, we want to say a massive thank you to all of those supporting our campaign and putting themselves to the test for the benefit of our challenge. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Watch this space as our campaign unfolds over the coming weeks.