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Food bank demand for items to eat cold ‘mind blowing’, says Jack Monroe

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2022-05-26
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Volunteers from a charity prepare meals in a London community food hub earlier this month as the cost of living crisis intensified.

Jack Monroe, the writer and campaigner, has described as “mind blowing” the rising number of food bank users who are asking for items that can be eaten cold because they can’t afford to heat them.

Monroe, a former food bank user who campaigns against poverty and publishes recipes that can be made on a tight budget, said cold foods were becoming a lifeline for families who could not afford to turn on the hob.

“People are increasingly asking for products that can be eaten cold,” Monroe told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. “Their gas or electric has been cut off, or their energy bills are so high, or they’re on prepaid metres so they’re what’s known as ‘self-disconnected’, which is an industry term for: ‘I don’t have the money to put my heating on.’

“It’s mind blowing in the scale of it. I don’t have words actually.”

Monroe said food banks were increasingly in need of canned items as a result. “Baked beans, snacks, tin meats, things like spam, tin puddings, tend to be things that get missed out in people’s donation list because they’re not particularly fashionable anymore. But they are really useful ways to get something sort of mildly nutritious inside in a hurry,” Monroe explained.

Her comments came as the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, prepared to announce a package of support to help people with rising household bills, including through a windfall tax on energy firms.

Speaking on Thursday morning, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, Dame Clare Moriarty said food bank vouchers had become a fact of life for many households in recent months. She said more people were coming to the consumer charity despite being in work, and many were asking for food vouchers despite never needing them before.

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“We’ve got people in this country who cannot put food on the table. They cannot keep the lights on and the heating on,” Moriarty told the Today programme.

“I was in Hammersmith and Fulham yesterday talking to our advisers, and they are desperately worried about people coming to them who have made sure that they’re claiming all the income they’re entitled to, they are living as cheaply as they can, and they still need food bank vouchers.”

“Food bank vouchers are becoming a fact of life … It’s not sustainable,” Moriarty said.

Comments / 55

Deborah Mosley
05-26

I am praying for these families. Sad, the comments here suggesting that these people either don't have the skills to calculate their bills, or they must be on drugs.. When there are folks still making mimimum wages and literally can't afford to live.. Why read this article just to come here and comment judgingly.. When you are not in their shoes and couldn't possibly understand their plight? I have never done drugs in my life, but I have been homeless before thru no fault of my own. Prayers going up. If no one else understands and sympathizes, I do, and Yahweh Elohim does. Bless them.

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Lori Wilson
05-26

Don't worry. Biden says this is an amazing transitional period..... Guess he don't have to buy gas or food.Vote these losers out 🇺🇲🇺🇸

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QD Pie
05-27

I gave at the office, it's called taxes. My family is hurting as well. My priorities are my family first. I will share if I can and then only with like minded people.

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