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Ever wondered what’s in a food parcel?

5th July 2018

To ensure a balanced supply of food is provided to everyone referred, whatever the household size is, we use standard packing lists for each emergency food parcel we give out. You can see an example of a list for a single person on the right.

As nutrition guidelines change over time, the Trussell Trust (we’re part of their network of foodbanks) are continually consulting with nutritionists to check that the standard parcel still meets recommendations for emergency provision. You can read the latest report on the standard parcel here. In line with the recommendations made, we’ve been putting some changes into practice: for example, removing 500g of sugar from standard parcels and either giving it out on request or checking if someone takes sugar in their tea or coffee when we make up a parcel. Obviously a big part of not having enough money for food is having choice taken away from you entirely, so we try to provide that element of choice for people.

That’s why there is a space on our referral form for food preferences, and if donations allow for it, changes will be made so that someone is receiving food they like. There’s no point giving someone tinned sardines if they only like tinned tuna! We also ask if there are any special dietary requirements, for example lactose or gluten intolerance, so that if we we able we can tailor the food parcel to ensure these are taken into consideration.

Our standard packing list also explains why you’ll often see us asking for very different things at different times throughout the year. Although there are some items that we often run low on (UHT milk and fruit juice are good examples of these) we do run short of other items, most recently tinned fruit when for a week there was no fruit in the foodbank! On the other hand we’re usually well stocked up on baked beans and tuna!  So if you’re thinking of donating it’s worth checking our homepage where you’ll see a post-it with our most needed items. You can also check here to see what we are needing and what we have plenty of.

On top of the standard parcel, we’re also very lucky to be able to provide a number of “Get Fresh Bonus Bags” each week due to the generosity of BeGreen Dunbar, funded in its entirety by Community Windpower, the operators of Aikengall Wind Farm. These bags provide a boost to the nutritional value of our regular food parcels.  Organised in conjunction with Roots & Fruits, our Get Fresh Bonus Bags contain fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, fresh milk (not UHT as normal), cheese and butter.

If you’d like to know more about what goes into a food parcel or just want to ask us something foodbank related drop us an email to info@eastlothian.foodbank.org.uk.

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