Food is something which most of us take for granted, but increasingly people within our various communities are struggling with Food Poverty, exacerbated by the COVID19 pandemic which has brought more individuals and families to the cliff edge of financial hardship.
What is Food Poverty?
People living in Food Poverty either don’t have enough money to buy sufficient nutritious food, struggle to get it because it is not easily accessible in their community, or both.
It can be a long-term issue in someone’s life or can affect someone for a shorter period of time because of a sudden change in their personal circumstances.
Food insecurity leaves many people reliant on emergency parcels from food banks and means that for many children, their free school meal could be the only guaranteed hot food they eat in a day. The Charity Sustain evidences over 8.4 million households living in Food Poverty within the UK.
Community organisations have been stepping up during the pandemic and going above and beyond to support their communities. Take the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation (IHWO) for example:
They been supporting a number of individuals in the community by collecting food supplies for them, lessening the reliance on food banks: More importantly, IHWO has been able to collect and provide food which is more culturally familiar to their community. A list is created by those individuals and families and the items are then collected and delivered to them. This includes long life food products and essential toiletries.
IHWO also caters for the wider community. During the 9-day religious festival in September, they collected large quantities of food which were then donated to charities supporting homeless people, in addition to other local projects such as the Good Loaf and Street Church.
IHWO has noticed an increased vulnerability amongst individuals and families during the pandemic, especially in relation to isolation and loneliness. Here’s a poignant story: IHWO was contacted by the relative of an elderly person who was living at home and had a carer visiting them daily to cook fresh food. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the carer stopped the visits and the individual concerned became very vulnerable and desperate. They were vegetarian and specifically wanted Gujarati meals. IHWO were able to refer him to the Ashadeep project and, once an assessment was undertaken, it was very quickly arranged for him to receive hot vegetarian Gujarati lunches which were healthy and suitable for his needs. His relative was very happy with the timely response and the right type of service provided for this individual. The food was delivered by volunteers who were recruited by the Ashadeep project.This is just one of many examples of cases that have arisen in the community due to the situation with Covid-19. Freshly cooked vegetarian food has been supplied to thousands of people who thankfully benefited from the timely support offered by IHWO in partnership with the Ashadeep project.
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