During Nutrition and Hydration Week, it seems apt to point out that for thousands - if not millions- of people in the UK-a full fridge of fresh food is something that is conjured in one place only: dreams. Not having access to nutritionally-good food as the cost of living continues to rise is a problem that affects the most vulnerable of us in society, and can have serious effects on both physical and psychological health. According to the Mental Health Foundation, diet can have a surprising impact on the development, management and prevention of many mental health issues including depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. And all this is not to mention the stress involved when a person is unsure of how to get the most basic of provisions stretch a week.
As fresh food often presents many difficulties for food banks due to their perishable nature and storage problems, we are fortunate to be a partner charity with Banbury Food for Charities. Their weekly deliveries to us mean that we are able to offer a variety of goods to our young people, helping them to have a more diverse diet. We also occasionally receive bottles of water, which again with this week's focus on adequate hydration, can prove to be life-saving for a person sleeping rough. The re-useable nature of the bottles allows them to be refilled and saved for later when access to water-points may be difficult, often during the night.
When we talk about improving our own diets, drinking more water and trying to munch our way through all the portions of fruit and veg we're supposed to, we mustn't forget how hard it is for certain sections of society to even contemplate this due to financial hardship alone. But we should also remember that as a community, we can make big strides in ensuring that everyone has access to good nutrition and hydration.