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Fresh and Healthy for the Food Bank

In these worrying times, many are anxious about Covid affecting them physically and mentally, especially, if we are vulnerable, older or have underlying health conditions. Many are worried about jobs and businesses continuing to close, during new lockdown restrictions and what about when furlough comes to an end?


Contributing to the crisis, research has shown food insecurity, the ability of a person (or family) to access the requisite amount of food (not junk food) on a daily basis, continues to be a crisis for many Brits. Furthermore, this leads to a worrying picture where, many are finding that due to the lack of healthy food, and tinned or dry goods, food banks are a major contributor to Type 2 Diabetes. Obviously, this is not the full picture as figures show that those on the poverty line are less likely to be able to afford fresh fruit and vegetables and this paints a very worrying landscape.


In 2014, 17.4 million households were “food insecure,” or lacking enough to feed the whole family. Many of them rely on food banks at least part time to feed their families.”


An unprecedented number were receiving emergency food boxes, a diet intended only for short-term consumption. The first two weeks of the coronavirus lockdown triggered an unprecedented rise in food bank use, as the economy was hit and household incomes plunged, data from hundreds of emergency food aid charities reveals.


The Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest food bank network, said it experienced its busiest ever period after lockdown was announced on 23 March, when it issued 50,000 food parcels in the space of a week, almost double its usual volume. A similar picture emerged from the Independent Food Aid Network (Ifan), which said its food banks recorded a 59% increase in demand for emergency food support between February and March, – 17 times higher than the same period a year ago.


The Olive Trust, Wales are an Anti-Discrimination organisation that covers, Hate Crime, inclusion, Holocaust Memorial Days, Equality and Diversity as well as Diabetes support for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. We have concluded that figures for Type 2, are increasing in the UK and it is estimated that 5 million will have Diabetes by 2025, (this excludes Type 1, which is an autoimmune disease and not life-style or diet related). For those, on the poverty line or for the unemployed, who rely on food banks, figures will rise, due to canned goods with high sodium content and lack of fresh fruit and vegetable consumption.


Therefore, The Olive Trust, Wales are putting surplus food parcels together, containing fresh fruit and vegetables that, can contribute to healthier diets and create healthier communities. We are also, compiling recipes to go with the parcels, such as lamb broth, apple crumble, casseroles and lots more in order, to add fresh food to the food bank. Then, even when a tin of broth, or meat is included in the parcel, the contents go a lot further with the inclusion of fresh food. The response and feedback has been very encouraging, with one lady saying her house was full of the lovely smell of lamb cawl with, added carrots, leeks and potatoes, bubbling away.


So, whilst CETMA and team have set up the much-needed foodbank in Pembrey and Burry Port that, should be recognised within the community, The Olive Trust are honoured to make a weekly contribution of fresh food, that can boost immunity against Covid and other illnesses this winter, as well as enabling us to join in and intervene in the fight against Type 2 Diabetes - due to lack of fresh food rather than obesity. We are happy to make this contribution, no matter how small. Not only does this provide for physical conditions and hunger but also, the mental stress and anxiety of putting wholesome food on the table.

If readers or business owners would like to make a contribution of fresh food to the foodbank please go to www.olivetrustwales.com.

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