Colchester Foodbank dishes up self-heating meals

One of the busiest foodbanks in the east has taken delivery of 18,000 self-heating meals to help homeless people, sofa surfers, refugees and struggling families across the Colchester area.

Electricity firm UK Power Networks donated two lorry-loads of long-life meals to Colchester Foodbank, after they proved a hit with engineering crews working from their vans, often in remote locations and around the clock. Each box includes a heat pad that can be activated to warm the meal.

Colchester Foodbank Chief Officer Mike Beckett said they will help people living without access to kitchen facilities, and save on cooking costs for cash-strapped families.

He says, “We haven’t had self-heating meals before, and it opens up a whole new way we can help people. Not everybody has access to a kitchen, for example a refugee family living in a hotel may have a kettle but not much else to cook with. Many people will really appreciate having a self-heating curry or an all-day breakfast – and our team have tried them and say they’re excellent!

“We will see a further increase in the need for food parcels this year. We sent out 700 nutritionally balanced food parcels last month, and if we send out 1,000 parcels next month they can include three ready meals each – so we can use the 18,000 within six months.”

Mike adds, “We will work collaboratively with our partner organisations and 11 satellite centres across Colchester and Tendring to make sure these meals go to where they will do the most good. Thank you to UK Power Networks for thinking of us and making a difference for the communities we serve.”

UK Power Networks’ Gurdip Tumber, who was on hand for the unloading of the pallets, says, “We know that in the current economic climate some people are having to choose between heating and eating. As a company we partner with many local and expert organisations to help support people living in vulnerable circumstances and this is one small way we can help.”

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