According to the UK’s largest food bank provider, the Trussell Trust, they have seen an 170 per cent rise in the number of people accessing emergency food in the last year.That statistic provided the context for a cookery competition with a difference at the recent Kent County Show.
The Ready Steady Foodbank cook-off, which was organised by Communities & Partnerships, challenged two vicars to cook a tasty and nutritious family meal, but only using items which would typically be found in a food bank parcel.
The aim was to highlight the importance of food banks and the practical difficulties faced by those in poverty.
Rev Andy Bawtree was one of the clergy chefs involved and impressed the audience with his chilli dish. He has some experience of cooking under pressure having been a contestant on Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me. Using only canned ingredients and a couple of fresh stock cupboard items which he was allowed from a lucky dip bag, Revd Bawtree showed what can be done with some of the various, but welcome items found in a food bank parcel.
At the same time he highlighted to the audience the daily challenges faced by people, and in his experience the increasing number of working people and families, who now have to use food banks.
As part of his ministry in Dover, Rev Bawtry is very involved in supporting the Dover Foodbank, which is part of the Trussell Trust network.
Noel Beamish from the project team at Dover Foodbank said: “Locally, we provide a minimum of 3 days emergency food and support to local people in need.
“As we rely solely on food donations to feed local people in crisis, anything that raises awareness of food banks and food poverty is a positive step.”
In order to use a foodbank, you need a voucher. It can be very stressful for someone to admit they need help with basic necessities like food. It can take a great deal of courage for someone to admit they need a voucher to the foodbank, and even more courage to actually go and receive it.
There are a variety of ways people, businesses and organisations can get involved with supporting their local foodbank. These include: helping with supermarket collections, helping in the warehouse and administration of the foodbank. Businesses can volunteer as a team building activity or share their expertise.
For more information about foodbanks or supporting your local foodbank you can visit: http://www.trusselltrust.org/ or the Diocese of Canterbury website https://www.canterburydiocese.org/foodbanks/ You can also contact Together Canterbury officer, Kon Apokis on firstname.lastname@example.org