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Lauren’s story: FOOD Club volunteers saved our Christmas!

18 December 2023

How would you respond if your freezer broke down just before Christmas with no time to get it fixed? That’s what happened to parent Lauren… but thankfully her local FOOD club was on hand to help her get creative!  

In my house it’s me, my other half and my two girls, and we’ve been using the FOOD club for almost a year. At first I was a bit apprehensive as I didn’t understand that it was a food club and not a food bank, as I work and I didn’t want to take food away from people who needed it. 

But they explained that I paid a small amount for a bag of food, and it was more about getting nutritious food for the family which could supplement our shopping from the supermarket. I talked to other mums in the area though and they told me they used the service, and I should check it out… and I’m glad I did, as it was lovely.

The FOOD Club really helps us manage our finances as, at the moment, my working time has gone down a bit because the children are both under three.

I didn’t know what to prepare for or what I’d be getting, and I didn’t take enough bags for all the food the first time, but the staff were lovely and fully explained how it worked. 

The FOOD club really helps us manage our finances as, at the moment, my working time has gone down a bit because the children are both under three.

They don’t eat a great deal, but my partner and I are trying to save for our wedding and going food shopping can be around £100 for a week’s worth.  

Fresh food and friendly tips

The FOOD club also helps as I get the chance to talk with the other mums and get tips about things like hiding vegetables in food if your children are fussy… It’s nice. We were given a whole chicken one week at the club… and I’ve never cooked a chicken from scratch. However, they gave me a recipe for lemon chicken with pasta and butternut squash to try… and I was really excited. My kids loved it and my other half was drooling because he eats with his eyes, and it looked so good!  

A broken freezer… and a Christmas nightmare! 

The volunteers at the FOOD club are so supportive of your circumstances… which came in very handy last Christmas when my freezer packed in…. Can you imagine that just before Christmas?  It was horrendous, but when we told the volunteers, they went through the stock and gave me all non-freezer stuff. It meant I had to be more creative as I thought “we’ve got to use this up” – but that’s actually something that I’ve learned from the club in general.

For example, in the past we’ve received loads of vegetables such as spring onions and celeriac. I’d never eaten either before so learning to prepare them was a new thing for me. Normally I’m a bit guilty of buying the same vegetables; I always go for the same thing and don’t get something different because I’m worried the kids won’t try it… But they did and they ate it all! 

Our Food Clubs could be a lifeline for the 2 in 5 families who say they won’t be able to afford to host family for a festive meal this year. Find out how you can help make theirs more magic.



Mum to two girls