Challenge Poverty Week: Helping Families Cook
As we remain at home with the nights drawing in and no end to COVID-19 and it’s harsh restrictions in sight, I’m doubly grateful to be working from a home that’s warm & dry. I’m not stressed about the washing machine, the tumble dryer and all the other essential household goods and whether we can turn them on when we need them.
When I think about what winter might mean for my family and loved ones I know that our isolation and exhaustion with all that is going on around us will be relieved with home cooked food to cheer us and to keep us strong and healthy. Food has come to mean so much for us as our social lives are curtailed and our opportunities for eating and drinking restricted. It’s the fuel that provides comfort and connections, bolsters our immunity and provides us with a social moment in a kitchen or around a table. For those of us who can afford the energy to cook.
For fuel poor households the choices have rarely been starker. Heating or eating. Laptops, chargers and lights to support homeworking and school working or hot water for baths and showers are growing demands. For fuel poor households this winter may be the worst one yet as community centres remain shut. Family and friends will be unable to provide respite as social restrictions continue and support services are likely to be overstretched.
For many, food banks are an essential lifeline. It is estimated by the Trussell Trust that there will be a 61% increase in demand for foodbanks this winter compared to last year. Foodbanks are seeing an increase in the demand for ‘cold packs’ which demonstrates the devastating level of need across Scotland. A cold pack is a food package that doesn’t require cooking and that such a thing is needed in 2020 is a national disgrace.
We know that time is running out to help these desperate families this winter.
Frazer Scott, CEO of Energy Action Scotland