This year has certainly been a roller coaster for many people, especially families. Seemingly endless days spent entertaining children while juggling home schooling and working from home – impossible you say? Try to imagine this without knowing how you are going to provide meals for your child on top of everything else. The families who have been hit hardest are those who are facing food insecurity.
If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that helping people who need it is not impossible, it just needs to be done by those who are willing to do it. Take Marcus Rashford for instance, a young footballer who many would have said had no place wading into the holiday hunger debate, yet his campaign has raised more than £20million for FareShare and got the government to do a U turn twice on their decisions over ending school holiday food provision.
Housing associations are also playing their part. Together with One Manchester, we have developed The Good Food Bag which is providing low cost, healthy meal kits to organisations to help them support their customers, as well as selling directly to people living in areas of food insecurity. The idea is simple; for just £7 people get a bag with all the pre measured ingredients and a simple step by step recipe card to cook a nutritious meal to feed a family of four.
Sasha Deepwell, Chief Exec of Irwell Valley explains "The Good Food Bag is more than just providing a food parcel, it’s offering choice, it’s developing skills and inspiring confidence, it’s affordable and it’s feeding families right now. We have a few budget friendly food offerings in Manchester, but none are like The Good Food Bag. It’s part of a new trend towards purchased food, planning ahead for if surpluses run out, and providing a more sustainable solution to help people out of food insecurity."
Jigsaw Homes liked the idea so much they provided The Good Food Bag to their customers in need over the summer holidays. Neighbourhood Engagement Officer, Jamie Bell, said “Jigsaw Homes have been working with The Good Food Bag Project and Gorton & Clayton Children’s Centres, providing local families with nutritious food over the summer holidays. This has been a challenging time for many families, we wanted to promote healthy eating and learning new skills in the community over summer.”
Registered housing providers have certainly played their part in the pandemic, supporting communities who have been hit hard by lockdown and the subsequent recession. But this problem is not going away anytime soon, and the key will be to invest in long terms solutions to issues such as the poverty premium that The Good Food Bag was created to help. Providing a solution that turns the poverty premium on its head and provides low cost, high quality food to families on their doorsteps.
Nicole Kershaw, Chief Exec at One Manchester said, "The Good Food Bag is a great way to help those families hardest hit by the pandemic. It’s not a handout, it’s a helping hand when people need it most. With The Good Food Bag, I know we can make a difference to people’s lives."
In a time where making a difference counts more than ever, find out how you can get involved here – www.thegoodfoodbag.com.