I'm guessing most of us have at some point.
I've struggled, there was a time when I was a single mum, I had the obvious list - a baby, a full time job, a mortgage, childcare... Life is one big juggling act but on the positive side, the experience made me stronger and more appreciative of the small things. We ate the food we could afford and I had absolutely no imagination in the cooking department so we ate rubbish! I remember during a difficult time, when even Old Mother Hubbard would have been bemused by my kitchen cupboards! a family member arrived at my house with a bag of food shopping and at that moment I'd never been so grateful, a true gift.
Why am I telling you this?
A moment of enlightenment? A feeling of gratitude? The desire to give something back?
All of the above I suppose! During a recent sort out at home, I realised how much stuff we sometimes hold on to. Far from simple living! Some of the things I rediscovered were unopened and unused! which is not only shocking but it made me think back to when I actually had a real need for important things. In the grand scheme of things, these are just 'things', but lets talk about food, an obvious essential.
Have you ever worried about putting food in the cupboards? Or have you ever had to see how far you can stretch a fiver? I have, don't get me wrong, it was a short stint of my four decades of life so far but it's an important stint to consider! I don't expect sympathy, I simply expect you to realise that any of us, any of the people we know, can go through difficult times.
Nowadays I only buy food that we'll definitely eat and I'm that boring person that plans my meals for the week. Boring or not, it means I spend less money, have what I need and don't throw food away because I've left it lingering too long!
Apparently 1 in 5 people live below the poverty line and can't afford to buy food. Don't you think it's astonishing that there are people around us, in 2017, who can't afford to eat? Not because they're frivolous, not because they're taking advantage of a system but simply because, like in my case, things didn't go to plan.
What we're doing & how you can help!
Last weekend, we nipped to Aldi to buy the Christmas cake ingredients, (There are other supermarkets out there in case I upset anyone!) and we thought how cheaply we could donate food to someone in need without it affecting us. In fact I reckon we could buy a chicken dinner and a pud for under £10! An easy 'cheeky drink' £10, an easy 'takeaway' £10, an easy 'Christmas dinner for a struggling family' £10. Talk about perspective.
After chatting to our local food bank, I'm excited to be creating a couple of boxes over the next few weeks for people who will really value them. Basic food items and those things we buy at Christmas that we take for granted, like mince pies and tins of chocolates that linger through to February. Sound familiar?
There are other things we can do to help too, an idea I saw on on TV recently was donating a box of small things with wrapping paper and tape. The idea being that struggling parents can wrap the donations as gifts for their family and enjoy their Christmas.
And another great idea is the Reverse Advent Calendar - as you open your advent calendars every day, you put items of food in a box and then donate it before Christmas.
So we'll donate food to the food bank and remember all those things I mentioned? The things I've re-discovered during our sort out unopened and unwrapped! we're going to donate those too. My 'forgotten about stuff' will be used as Christmas gifts for struggling families.
I know, it's a deep and thoughtful blog post this one, a case of having a debate with myself really, and sharing my thoughts with you. I'm already feeling good about what we're doing and how much it will mean to the people we help. Who knows maybe some of you also have 'stuff' that you've never bothered opening, maybe you too can stretch £10 into a food hamper. After all, t'is the season to be jolly!
Looking for information?
I've listed some interesting/useful links for you guys, this certainly isn't exhaustive and if there are any other useful links then feel free to comment and mention it. 👍 For this blog post my focus is on Cumbria but if you simply mooch online, you're sure to find people who are local to you and in need.
December is just around the corner so here's to helping others and I hope your festive plans are coming on nicely.
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