New food bank parcels have been created which contain products that can be prepared by adding boiling water or just eaten cold.
“Kettle boxes” are now being issued by food banks for those who cannot afford to switch on their cooker to boil pasta or rice. These new boxes where developed by volunteers from the Trussell Trust charity and contain products which can be prepared just by adding boiling water. This includes instants soup, Pot Noodles, instant mash and just-add-water porridge, alongside staples such as crackers, cereal and tinned food.
For clients who find themselves even more destitute a “cold box” food parcel has also been created, this contains three days’ worth of mainly tinned groceries which can be prepared without the need for heating or hot water, reports the Guardian.
A cold box would typically contain: long-life milk, breakfast cereal, tinned sweetcorn, tinned potatoes, tinned corned beef, tinned rice pudding, fruit juice, cream crackers, biscuits, jam and peanut butter.
Whilst the trust accepts the boxes don’t meet the nutritional standards of its regular food parcels, they have been developed in response to clients who had refused to take basic items such as rice, pasta, tinned tomatoes and baked beans due to them not being able to pay the electricity to cooks them.
“We were absolutely astonished when this started to happen, and we were also really upset, ” said Annette Smith, volunteer project co-ordinator of Morecambe Bay food bank in Lancashire. “Why is it happening? It’s the old cliche: do I heat or eat?”
The food bank also helps clients deal with underlying causes of their problems and refers them to advice agencies.
Chris Mould, executive chairman of the trust, said kettle boxes were “another example of how bad things have got” for low-income families. Nutrition was clearly an issue, he accepted, but added: “If you can’t afford to turn the electricity on, then some food is better than no food.”
The trust’s quarterly figures show 355,000 people received food parcels last year between April and the end of September – more than the total fed throughout 2012-13.
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