'There are better ways to feed your family'
ACCORDING to a recent news report, the huge number of UK food banks has attracted the attention of UN officials who are concerned about our poorer families' inadequate diets.
I very nearly became a volunteer at a local food bank just recently, but after pondering, very deliberately, on the matter for several days I decided against it.
Why? Because I am not entirely sure that it is the best way of helping people, struggling on a reduced income.
When the emergency food supplies have all gone, what then next week or next month?
2 4 1 on all items on the steak and grill menu served monday to saturday
Monday - Saturday 12noon - 8pm
cheapest item credited for free
Management reserve the right to withdraw the offer at anytime.
not to be used in conjunction with anyother offer.
Contact: 01472 808799
Valid until: Saturday, June 15 2013
Do families hope for another handout of food or extra money?
Times are hard and, because of a narrow-minded, highly-privileged group of government ministers who have never in their lives had to struggle on low incomes, they are going to become much harder.
Would it then not be much better over the long term to find different and maybe more practical ways of helping families to cope with low wages and tight household budgets?
I sound unsympathetic, but I believe that with care and imagination it is possible to live quite comfortably on low food spending.
For some considerable time now, my own household, a family of three, has lived on £35-£40 for our weekly shop, that's a little under £2 per person, per day.
This is a figure that must make George and David extremely proud, these two bright Conservative chaps being big deliverers in austerity and wanting us all to cut back, just like they are doing themselves.
On the plus side, George, I'm not wasting money on your economy, which means that outside of London it will continue to collapse and you'll be drawing dole money in two years time.
But enough of my flippancy. Families need to get back to simple foods! Fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, rice and pasta.
They need to learn how to cook very basic nutritious meals that contain decent portions of complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals.
My own weekly food bill breaks down as follows: £12.50 at our local fruit and veg shop, £12.50 at our local butchers and £10-£15 at our local supermarket on pasta, milk, a little tinned food etc, and we all eat handsomely, and very healthily.
As much as possible, forget the supermarkets, they can be very misleading. We have two terrific indoor markets in this town and (still) loads of great small family food shops.
With imagination and a shopping list there are bargains and wholesome meals to be had!
We need to get information out there to poorer people and families. Basic, easily-understood information on recipes and foodstuffs, on how to use food and prepare meals and budget for a weekly shop, even for as little as £20 a week.
These simple newsletters could perhaps be put together by some of our older residents who I'm certain have the knowledge on how to live healthily through austere times. It needs to be made available everywhere – in shops, clubs, pubs and, importantly, schools.
Those who have even basic cookery knowledge need to be able to share it.
Ever prepared a meal on one hob on a cooker? Fuel poverty is another major issue connected with food.
This government is not going to help you.
Their refusal to regulate energy and water companies, many private landlords and supermarkets means that the cost of living is going to keep on going up.
The only answer in NE Lincs at least is to help each other, but also to be as self reliant as possible. Happy eating!
TN Michael, Haigh Street, Cleethorpes.
The Telegraph Says
Advice on how to cook healthy meals at low cost for families is an excellent idea. The food banks, however, are needed and not intended to be long-term help or solutions.