A year since the start of my Team v adventure

It was a year ago that I was on the train to London for Team v’s welcome and induction day, how quickly has that gone? After only completing my interview two days before I was caught up in a whirlwind of excitement and it hadn’t quite sunk in that I had been successful. To get to the point where I was accepted was a success in itself for me and did not come easily.

Fast forward a year to now and I am happier, healthier and more confident than I could ever have imagined a year ago. I’ve completed tasks I never thought I would able to do such as running workshops in schools and talking on the radio. In the past year I’ve visited London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Coventry and Swindon.

This new found confidence has helped in all areas of my life. Academically, Team v has helped me to progress too. I am now studying a Health and Social Care course, I will be taking part in a 3 day first aid course which starts tomorrow and next week I begin my BSL course. This wouldn’t have been possible without the Team v Scholarship. I am happier than I have ever been, partly down to all of the amazing opportunities I’ve taken part in and also because of allowing myself to feel the love my family have for me.

Volunteering wise, I have taken part in residential camps for children with serious illnesses and with children who are deafblind. Both of these have been inspiring and I can’t wait to volunteer later this year with some similar organisations. My CV is now full of experience and finding new opportunities is so much easier.

I think it is important to look at how far you’ve come occasionally. It’s too easy to get caught up in chasing your dreams that you forget to look at how much has changed already. A big thank you has to go to my amazing family, I wouldn’t be doing what I am now without their support and encouragement. As well as the Team v staff who believed in me and supported me throughout the programme.

Next week I will be taking part in vInspired Ambassador training. This is something I am very excited about and will be writing more about over the upcoming weeks. I have loads of new and exciting opportunities over the next few months and I am sure this next year will be even better than the last.

587318100 (1)

Advertisements

Lazy weekend…

myweekendplans

Earlier today I was browsing the internet for quotes and pictures, something I do a lot as it makes me happy, when I came across this. It sums up my weekend plans perfectly 🙂

Lazy time playing games with my boyfriend, watching movies, doing a jigsaw puzzle and eating. This is happiness – time with my boyfriend. Lots of things make me happy including spending time with my family and volunteering.

I have set myself a new challenge over the next four weeks. Each day I am going to write down three things that I am grateful for and each weekend I will write a blog post about them. We all have so much to be thankful for and all too often we take things for granted.

Wishing you a weekend full of happiness 🙂

The Hunger Challenge Day 2

I completed day 2 of the Hunger Challenge 🙂 I found the day harder than day one, again for different reasons than I expected.

Yesterday I experienced something I wasn’t expecting. The feeling of watching someone you love feeling hungry. My boyfriend very kindly offered to do the Hunger Challenge with me to support me. I felt very guilty that I was unable to provide him with hot, tasty food that he wanted most.

This is something I think it is very important to highlight during this challenge. Imagine if you’re a parent, having to watch your child hungry for days before finally going to a Foodbank and receiving your food parcel. Take a moment to think about the relief that would bring to you knowing your child no longer has to go hungry. According to Stoke on Trent Foodbank media, locally one in three children go hungry every night.

image

But for many there are additional worries added on top of watching their children hungry. Those experiencing poverty often do not have enough money to heat their homes, they may have existing debts and feeling worried about many areas of their life.

The three day emergency food parcel given out to those in need provides so much more than food. The Foodbank provides financial advice and support, eases the worries of yourself and your family going hungry and helps individuals feel less alone.

For breakfast yesterday I had a cup of tea and later on I had a snack of rice pudding. In the afternoon I had another cup of tea and a few biscuits before an evening meal of chicken in white sauce, tinned potatoes and tinned peas.

image

Day 1 of The Hunger Challenge

Yesterday, over a hundred Team v leaders nationally and many volunteers, started the Hunger Challenge. You can find out more information here about what is involved. As the nights get cooler and winter sets in it’s all too easy to take for granted what some people want so badly. Often, during the cooler evenings, I will snuggle under my fluffy blanket with a hot cup of tea, some biscuits and spend time online. For those experiencing poverty, this is something that seems an eternity away.

This is the contents of my emergency three day food parcel which I purchased this as part of an online shop. When the food was delivered I was told that some of my items had been substituted. The pasta sauce was different from what I had ordered and so were the beans. These are only tiny differences but it really made me think about how those using foodbanks must feel when they have no say in the contents of their food box.

WP_20141111_006

I normally drink my first cup of tea whilst reading emails, catching up on Facebook and chatting about my plans for the day. But when eating breakfast yesterday I found myself completely consumed by my cup of tea (with different tea bags to normal and UHT milk) and my multigrain hoops. I was thinking about when I would next be eating and what that would be.

WP_20141111_012

The biggest difference I have found so far is that the food doesn’t taste like I’m expecting it to taste. I didn’t think I added much seasoning but my evening meal of meatballs and pasta tasted bland and every mouthful tasted the same. The little luxuries of adding salt and pepper to the water make a bigger difference than I realised.

WP_20141111_015

I have also found that I am eating smaller portions than normal to try and make the food last for as long as possible. I would imagine this is a pretty common for anyone who receives a food parcel. The tough decision whether to make a big enough portion so they are full and the food last for a shorter amount of time, or whether to eat until no longer hungry and stretch the food out as much as possible.

During Tango, whilst everyone was eating cake and biscuits and drinking tea and coffee, I ate two of my biscuits. Needless to say by the time I returned home I was more than ready for some more food! So I had chunky chicken and vegetable soup which tasted very good. This was followed by a pudding of pineapple chunks and just before bed I had another cup of tea and 3 more biscuits.

WP_20141112_003

Doing the Hunger Challenge is really helping me to empathise with those experiencing poverty. At least I have the security of knowing in a few days time I will be able to eat any food I want, a luxury many don’t have. It has already made me more determined to help my local foodbank, Stoke on Trent Foodbank.

At Tango I received some very kind donations which will all be donated on 15th December to the foodbank. Thank you to all who have already donated.

WP_20141112_005

Food poverty can be experienced by anyone and it is so important to do something about it. Why don’t you take part in the Hunger Challenge? For more information please contact me on evie.hibbitt@vinspired.com

Before the Hunger Challenge

Tomorrow, Tuesday 11th to Thursday 13th, I will be taking part in Team v’s Hunger Challenge as part of the campaign ‘Beyond a tin of food’ #Beyondfood. Over the next few days I will be blogging about my experiences, what shocks me the most, what I have eaten and the impact, if any, this has on me.

I have purchased and will be eating the contents of a three day emergency food parcel which typically includes:

  •  1 packet of pasta
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 tin of beans
  • 2 tins of stew or similar
  • 1 tin of meatballs
  • 2 tins of soup/1 packet of cup-soups
  • 1 small box of tea bags
  • 1 packet of cereal
  • 2 rice puddings or tins of fruit
  • 1 large or 2 small tins of potatoes
  • 2 tins of vegetables
  • 1 carton of UHT milk
  • 1 packet of biscuits
  • Plus toothpaste, shampoo and soap

Although this may appear to be a lot of food, people experiencing poverty will often have very little in their cupboards. It is unlikely they will have salt, pepper or any other seasonings to add to their food, making their meals bland.

What shocked me the most when I started this campaign was that anyone could find themselves in the situation of needing to rely on a Foodbank for an emergency food parcel.

A major factor contributing to the increase in food poverty over the last few years, is that people’s incomes are staying the same, whilsts living costs including food, fuel and energy costs are all going up. According to the Below the Breadline report, published in June 2014, more than half a million children in the UK are now living in families who are unable to provide a minimally acceptable diet.

Team v Leaders nationally are collecting and donating food to local foodbanks. For more information about how you can be involved or where your local leader is based please contact me on evie.hibbitt@vinspired.com

 

Beyond a tin of food

This weekend Team v Leaders gathered in Daventry as the first of three campaigns for this years leaders was revealed. The first campaign is called…

 

Beyond a tin of food!

Beyond Food Hero_RGB-03

 

Beyond a tin of food is all about raising awareness of food poverty in our local area.Food poverty has increased by 610% in only 3 years, with growing numbers of people going hungry and being forced to use food banks to feed themselves ad their families.

Throughout my journey I will update you all with how the campaign is going and the running total of food I have collected. We will also be taking part in ‘The Hunger Challenge’ between Tuesday 11th – Thursday 13th November (more details below) if you would like to get involved please do. You can also follow the campaign on twitter at #beyondfood and #teamvgo.

 

How can you be involved?

Around the country Team v leaders are running events to raise awareness of their local food banks and the impact they have on their community. But they can’t do this alone! We rely on the help of volunteers and the public to get involved and go ‘beyond a tin of food’. You could donate a tin to your local food bank, give up your time to volunteer or simply display or share one of our posters highlighting this issue. To find your local Team v leader please visit https://vinspired.com/team-v-leaders-map.

If you live in Stoke on Trent please contact Evie on evie.hibbitt@vinspired.com or on twitter @EHibbitt for more information about ways to get involved.

 

What is ‘The Hunger Challenge’ and why get involved?

The Hunger challenge is a three day experience where leaders, mentors, staff from vInspired Team v, volunteers and members of the public will experience living on food aid and share their experiences. We will eat the food that you would typically find in a food parcel and record our experiences. For more information contact your local leader or myself on the above details.

 

What will you do to help raise awareness? Comment to let me know 🙂