Shildon has two food banks – one at Shildon Alive (project run from St John’s Church) and one at the Salvation Army citadel. Luckily for us, I know that Shildon Alive collects two lots of fresh food once a week – from Tesco’s at Newton Aycliffe and Morrison’s in Bishop Auckland. The food is used in a variety of ways. Some is sent out with the food parcels (for 7524 meals last year) and some is sent down to Jubilee Fields Community Centre to be distributed from there. Some is used for a cooking project and fruit is given out through the two local pharmacies. Surplus fruit, veg and bread is placed outside the Shildon Alive Hub (you can see the inside in the pictures) and people can come along and collect what they need. I was there at 10.00 and you can see what I collected in the two bottom pictures. This gives you an idea of the kind of thing you can get there – there’s other things too – but we took the melon, potatoes and pineapple back as we didn’t really need them. They don’t normally get pineapples. We owe companies like Tesco’s and Morrison’s a really big ‘thank you’ for their help.
Some of the bread has gone into the freezer – it will help make our budget go further next week. The baking apples went into a home made crumble for two days and the tomatoes went into a chilli for tonight and tomorrow night. The biggest worry I have is I don’t really know how much it costs to use the oven – I’m going to find out – but we tried to make using it worthwhile by cooking extra baked potatoes to fry and we’ve put a few meals into the freezer as well. I’m finding out quite quickly just how important it is to have a freezer if you want to save money – and I bet most care leavers don’t have access to one.
This whole thing is making me think all the time about how to save money – how to be careful of every penny I’m spending. I hate my hair – it’s thin and gets greasy and I wash it every day. But today I didn’t wash it as I’m trying to save money by having really short showers – I only have a tiny bit of shampoo as I’m using up some free samples at the moment. I have also worn the same t-shirt today that I wore yesterday as it smells OK – I’m trying to cut down the washing as much as possible as the budget says 60p every time you use the washing machine, assuming you have one. I think after a few weeks of watching every penny I would be getting really fed up and increasingly worried about something going wrong as there is no spare cash in the budget to cover it – and you have to eat a balanced diet if you want to stay healthy.