Food for thought , for thoughtful food.

Food for thought for thoughtful food.

By Sara Matthews

While in the local supermarket, getting fresh supplies for dinner, I spotted a family with a trolley overfull and bursting with food. I presumed it was early Christmas food shopping and as I looked around I realised that I was surrounded by people with full trolleys in preparation for the festive season ahead. On the way out, I spotted a trolley that the supermarket had set up to collect food from their customers to send to the food bank to help families over Christmas who can’t afford to fill a trolley like those I had just seen. As I dropped in some gluten free pasta, I looked in to see lots of foods with long shelf life, as requested on the sign. Pasta, soups, tinned pies, tinned puddings,tinned processed meats, custard, crisps, bags of nuts, Christmas chocolates, crackers, sauces and gravies,even a Christmas cake, a very generous display, however, a coeliac and allergy suffers nightmare! This got me thinking……

You never know if you, or a someone you know, will find themselves in a situation where they need to rely on donations of food to feed themselves and their family. For those of us who suffer from food allergies and health related dietary requirements it’s a very real and serious issue! Having a food allergy, if not managed can be fatal and does not discriminate by how much money you have or if you have somewhere to live or not. According to Shelter (a charity for the homeless) this Christmas will see 120,000 children homeless in Britain.  Food poverty is a real and urgent issue effecting many UK families who are reliant on the generosity of others to feed them and food bank donations.

The Trussell Trust runs a network of over 400 foodbanks, giving emergency food and support to people in crisis across the UK, where thirteen million people live below the poverty line. In the last year they gave 1,109,309 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis.

What if you are a family with food allergy sufferers?

Tighter NHS budgets mean that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) have reviewed their policy on gluten-free prescriptions for those with coeliac disease, with many restricting access to, to complete withdrawal of this much-needed support. Many low-income families who relied on the staples such as gluten free flour blends and breads are now struggling to provide safe food at meal times. With the current economic climate, many families are now turning to food banks for support.

Gluten free is not always taken seriously and yes, is a lifestyle choice for some but, for those diagnosed with Coeliac disease the only way to recovery and continued health is a gluten free diet. Continually eating gluten can lead to health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, malnutrition, osteoporosis to name a few.

When you are having to survive you take whatever food you can get, even if it makes you seriously ill. Or, do you refuse the much-needed food? How do you explain to the hungry child that the bread sent by the food bank will make them ill as it contains a food they are allergic to while the rest of the family enjoy a sandwich? Harsh but a reality. Malnutrition can have a huge negative impact on a person’s physical health and mental well-being.

So, my message to you is, if you donate to a food bank, and I’m hoping you will, please take a moment to think. Allergy friendly and gluten free food and goodies dropped into that trolley at the exit of the supermarket or at the local food bank could make a massive difference to someone or a family in need. Be generous and give SAFE sustenance to families in crisis.

Thoughtful food for families in need.

YGF -You’re Giving Freedom

Merry Christmas.

Sara 🙂

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