From the website of the High Peak food bank:
Food we always need includes: UHT milk; tins of vegetables, meat, fish, tomatoes, puddings and fruit; pasta sauce; rice; biscuits; breakfast cereals; shrink wrap beetroot; dried potato; packet soups; just add water meals; tea; coffee; dried puddings and baby food/milk.
We also need: toiletries, toilet roll, deodorant, shampoo, soap, nappies, baby wipes, household cleaning products etc.
And sanitary towels and tampons are useful things to add too.
My husband Tim died suddenly and unexpectedly in February 2018 from complications linked with his type 2 diabetes. Effectively, his heart just stopped. I always said that he was the centre of my turning world; the spot of calm in my hectic life. And his death has left me floundering. I am now trying to rebuild my life without that centre, and it's hard. It's not even day by day – sometimes its hour by hour, or even minute by minute. And it's early days. The journey has barely even started, and I suspect that it won't ever actually finish.
My work as a science writer is helping. My mantra, when the world has gone odd and sideways, has always been "I'm going back to my desk to write about science; I understand that." And I have started running again. During 2017, I ran over 650 km and raised more than £1600 for Cancer Research UK. I think there were times Tim wondered who this running-obsessed alien was that had stolen his wife. But he was so proud of me.
Type 2 diabetes is more than just an inconvenience. It's a killer. It reduces your life expectancy by an average of ten years. It increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, kidney disease, and cancer. It can leave you blind. One of the biggest risk factors of diabetes is obesity, which puts me right in the frame. Despite being pretty fit, my current BMI is 32.4, which means that I am obese.
For me, obesity isn't as a result of me having a poor relationship with food. It's as a result of having a close, loving and dear relationship with food, particularly crisps, prosecco, cheese and chocolate. But for many people out there, obesity is a result of poverty. Food poverty is worsening in the UK – between April and September 2017, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network handed out 586,907 three day emergency food supplies, compared with 519,342 during the same period the previous year – and 208,956 of these went to children. More than one in 10 adults and almost 1 in 4 parents with children aged 18 and under are skipping meals because of lack of money.
I have worked to deadlines for my whole career, and it's deadlines and goals that give me structure. And so I am giving myself some goals for this year. One is to lose weight, so that I cut my diabetes risk. And the other is to donate to food banks, to help support those in food poverty. For every pound I lose I will donate a pound to Diabetes UK. And for every 10k I run in 2018, I will donate a food item to High Peak Food Bank.
As I said, this year will be step by step. But some of those steps will be helping others, which I think Tim would have liked.
PS - 30 km completed so far in 2018 - so first three items donated today.