A new free food programme aimed at helping people to eat well is planning to expand next year and will be making a call for new volunteers.
The Kitchen Social Broadstairs was set up in February by residents including Lucy Gray, Paul Preston and ‘Grandma Fox.’
The scheme needed to adapt following the outbreak of the covid pandemic and so Grandma Fox’s recipe box for people over 50 or those at risk of poor mental health was created. The free food programme sees people gradually move towards using the recipe box. .
Lucy said: “The programme is focused on teaching food education and life skills including cooking and budgeting, which are no longer part of the school syllabus. Grandma Fox oversees the programme with final say on all decisions.
“Kitchen Social believes in taking preventative action by encouraging communities to eat well. Good nutrition can improve depression symptoms. Poor nutrition affects your mood and concentration. The World Health Organisation reports more than 264 million people globally suffer from depression.
“Kitchen Social campaigns to raise awareness that vulnerable communities must be afforded access to good quality and fresh food to maintain and improve both mental and physical health -the first step in improving the standard of living. The free Food Programme is the only sustainable, eco-friendly and long term solution to food poverty here in Thanet.”
Kitchen Social combines public grocery donations made at Sainsburys Westwood with food surplus from local supermarkets and gleaned local farm produce. The supplies are boxed to produce the Greens and Grocery Box, containing familiar and nutritious foods.
With one full time and three part-time volunteers, Kitchen Social delivers 340 meals a week on this programme.
The programme supports households for up to six months – single or families – during challenging financial times to focus on nutrition.
The team say the food programme is based Kitchen Social Broadstairs on science to ensure accuracy of teaching methods to positively change behaviours, similar to CBT; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. CBT is a talking therapy which can help manage problems by changing the way a person thinks and behaves.
Lucy said: “The programme is based on bite size chunks of information including healthy cooking, basic family nutrition, budgeting and sourcing affordable best quality food. At the end of the programme, we award a Certificate in Basic Cooking; creating a sense of achievement when some of our families have only ever had negative experience of education.”
Between May and December this year the programme has delivered food to make 8624 meals for vulnerable families in Thanet.
The expansion plans are set to include an online cookery school and an aftercare programme to keep supporting people to manage shortfalls in income or health issues. Recruitment for volunteers is due to begin in January. The expansion has been made possible buy a private donation.
If you would like to support Kitchen Social Broadstairs Christmas Food Programme a grocery or financial donation can be made at Sainsburys, Westwood. There is a donation box in-store and online when you shop.
Sainsbury’s “Help Brighten a Million Smiles” at Christmas campaign runs until tomorrow (December 14).