Four teenagers who took on a challenge to raise awareness of their local foodbank described it as a “real eye-opener”.
The Peterhead Academy pupils decided to only eat kettle-cooked food for a week as part of their Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) Scotland project.
They hope the challenge, which was designed not only to raise awareness of Peterhead’s foodbank but also vital funds, will help them win the charity a prize of £3,000.
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Chelsea Sutherland-Thom, Zoe McKessick, Anna McAuslan, all 16, and Sanija Gorodko, 15, ate only items usually given out in emergency food parcels.
But the girls found their meals of porridge, instant noodles and “slightly crunchy” instant pasta to be a steep learning curve.
Chelsea added: “Some people survive eating like this after getting help from the foodbanks.
“If I was in that position there would also be a lot of mental and financial factors so it would be hard, but having food of some sort would be good.”
Anna said the 700 calories a day had left her quite hungry.
She said: “This challenge has really made me appreciate food – normally I have it but don’t think too much about it.
“It’s a real eye opener.”
Sanija said yesterday: “I’ve found it tough as I’ve not been feeling well most of the week.
“It’s a totally different eating experience from what I’ve ever had – we’re all so lucky to have food.
“This week I keep hearing my stomach rumble and just couldn’t concentrate.”
As part of the project, the team established food collection points at the school, in Dales Park and at Hughes, MacDonald and Davidson opticians.
The girls also plan to raise funds by helping out at the Methodist Church buttery morning on November 17 and at the Dales Park Christmas fair on November 24.
Manager of Aberdeenshire North Foodbanks, Debbie Rennie, said the group were doing great work is “pretty amazing.”
She said: “The food offered in kettle packs is designed to make sure people still feel full even if they can’t cook properly due to a lack of equipment, for example if they are in temporary accommodation.
“It can really help people in bad situations so the work they’re doing is pretty amazing.”
Donations can be made at the foodbank which is open on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays between 11am and 1pm or by contacting the YPI Peterhead Foodbank fundraising page on Facebook.
P&J reporter Tamsin Gray reflects on the Kettle Challenge
It’s safe to say I won’t be having another Pot Noodle any time soon.
The Kettle pack challenge has been a trying experience.
Living on the limited amount of food given out in an emergency parcel was a struggle – what there was to eat was enough but it left me lethargic, hungry and irritable.
Before this, I knew how lucky most of us were in this area to be able to afford fresh, good quality food.
The reality that people rely on parcels like this has hit home hard.
All of the side-effects of this diet would have been magnified when coupled with struggles of homelessness or unemployment, or stressing about paying the bills – struggles many people who rely on these packages face every week.
When it was a choice, the food was novel and my weekly food shop totalled £13.45, but it took effort to stick to it.
As a last resort it would sustain me so it’s reassuring to know these parcels are available.
Donations of food and funds to the centres that provide these packs are essential to some people’s survival.
It’s a terrifying fact but seeing these girls try to help their local foodbank by raising awareness of the struggles has been a heartwarming but hard-hitting experience.