What would be best to give a friend in need (i.e. food)?

(40 Posts)
jgjgjg Fri 07-Dec-12 19:28:46

A friend rang me today in a bad state because she has basically spent every single penny that she has, and has no food in the cupboards apart from some bread and a couple of potatoes, to last until Monday when she hopes to get more benefits). Also has no toilet roll, kitchen roll, toiletries, etc.

Very long story behind it which I won't go into here, involving domestic violence, child protection issues by the father, ongoing health problems, legal claims against her ex-employer, etc.

It seems that she has now managed to borrow £20 from someone else which will buy her some things for a few days. I'm really, really reluctant to get into lending her money, but I've said that I will take over a box of things for her on Monday.

So the question is, what would be best for me to take? I really hope that this doesn't come across as patronising, but I'm very lucky in that I've never had to live on a really tight budget so I am struggling to decide what would be best.

Does this sound sensible:

Weetabix/cornflakes
Milk
Bread
Butter
Bottle of squash
Rice
Pasta
Jars of pasta sauce?
Potatoes
Cheese
Sausages
Mince
Baked beans
Toilet roll
Kitchen roll
Washing up liquid
Shampoo
Soap

Thanks
Julie

bubblepop Sat 08-Dec-12 13:59:05

What a lovely friend you are. I wouldn't lend her money because she may expect it from you again. Get some basics like value rice pudding, porridge,milk,beans,bread,pasta,ham,perhaps some fruit.

Does she have anything she can sell ? like a mobile phone perhaps or some jewellry ?

meditrina Sat 08-Dec-12 14:09:01

Lovely idea!

I'd also include toothpaste, shampoo/shower gel and an all-purpose spray cleaner.

CordeliaChase Sat 08-Dec-12 15:23:41

Can you be my friend too, you sound wonderful smile

When I'm living on a budget (have had to many times due to changing circumstances) I tend to buy stores own brand noodles, a teriyaki sauce, tinned beans etc, lots of fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables and some freezer bags.

I make the noodles up, chuck a cooked chicken breast in with some cooked veggies (usually from the frozen lot) and some teriyaki sauce. Cheap teriyaki noodles, my two year old loves them. Every time I cook a meal, I portion some out into a freezer bag and chuck it in the freezer for when I'm skint. I use as many of the fresh veggies as poss, then chuck the rest in a big pot and make a soup. Sweet potatoes, carrots etc make a great base for a yummy soup. I only chuck one stock cube in for a big pot of soup, it goes a long way.

Not sure if any of this helps, but sure your friend will remember your gesture much longer than if you'd just given her money. X

ClareMarriott Sat 08-Dec-12 18:53:17

Can you give her some of your time? If she has confided in you about everything that is going on, can you take her out for a coffee. ? Just getting out from inside 4 walls and seeing a bit of daylight/sunshine can change your mood.

TheMonster Sat 08-Dec-12 18:55:47

Surely the £20 she has borrowed will see her through until Monday?

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Sun 09-Dec-12 13:11:30

What a nice friend she has in you grin

My aunt did the same thing for us when we were really struggling and I will always be grateful to her, I have a friend who is about to be in a similar situation and plan to give her a food hamper as a house warming present.

This is what she put in it

Bread
Milk
Eggs
Cheese
Pasta
Tinned tomatoes
Tin sweetcorn
Frey bentos pie
Onions
Carrots
Potatoes
Butter
Tinned tuna
Rice
Frozen peas
Tea bags
Hot chocolate
Flour
Caster sugar
Sugar
Jam
Mince big family pack that I split into 3 and froze
Chicken breasts
Bacon
Pizza
Variety pack of cereal
Biscuits
Orange squash
Stock cubes

It helped so much because I had the ingrediants to make spaghetti bolognese, bacon pasta, chicken pasta, chicken pie, minced beef and onion pie, cottage pie, omlettes, jacket potatoes, tuna pasta bake, cakes and more, think I fed us for a month on what she had given us

jgjgjg Sun 09-Dec-12 23:10:15

Thanks for your comments everyone.

In the end the other friend actually 'lent' her £50, although of course it remains to be seen if/how she will ever pay it back.

I invited them over to tea yesterday and made sure that both of them ate well, and then sent her home with a couple of big bags of supplies. Didn't have time to get quite everything on the list because the tea idea was a bit spur of the moment but I managed most of it.

I've also investigated nearby food banks for her in case she ever gets to crisis point again. It turns out to be suprisingly difficult to use a food bank! Essentially you need a voucher, which you can only get from social worker/GP/health visitor etc, which of course is very hard on a weekend. Not to mention that 2 of the 3 local ones are closed on a weekend. It seems that you can only have a crisis and need a food bank on a weekday around here...!

She doesn't have anything to sell unfortunately, but I'm investigating charities at the moment to try and get her a working washing machine and microwave.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Mon 10-Dec-12 00:07:27

Have you tried freecycle? There's always people on my local one advertising microwaves and washing machines

Feckthehalls Mon 10-Dec-12 00:19:43

you are a true friend

TheMonster Mon 10-Dec-12 06:56:40

Yes freecycle is wonderful. We Got our microwave from there.

ProfYaffle Mon 10-Dec-12 07:11:32

If she goes to CAB they can issue food bank vouchers. Some of us also keep an informal 'food cupboard' and can issue a few tins direct to clients in an emergency.

It sounds really sad to read this, we really dont realise how lucky we are. Could you tell us which town she is in and maybe one of could help out. I have a working microwave that needs a new home.

jgjgjg Tue 11-Dec-12 13:30:16

Hi, she's in Thornton Heath, which is on the outskirts of Croydon

AlmostAChristmasHipster Tue 11-Dec-12 13:38:45

Good for you. I've done this for a friend before and I agree that it's better than loaning money. I'm still waiting to be repaid by two friends - I guess the trick is never to give anything you can't afford to lose smile

I'd second the crisps and a bit of chocolate as a little treat for the kids if they usually get nowt.

buildingmycorestrength Wed 12-Dec-12 11:57:36

What an amazing thread. This is all that is good about human nature...the true meaning of Christmas.

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