Saturday, 23 February 2008

Our Daily Bread

The last few days have a had a single point of focus - food. For the first time this year we have been having real problems getting enough bread. At the beginning of the outbreak the supermarkets limited what people could buy and although many overseas goods became limited - especially fruit - we managed to get enough. I've also been gradually trying to stock up on items which don't require refrigeration and have built up a supply which would probably last us 3 weeks.

The big problem has been getting bread - I'd always taken that simple commodity for granted throughout my life - but it's only when there's not enough that you realise just how much of a staple it is in our diets. Apparently there were only 9 weeks of grain in store worldwide at the begiining of January and the problems with international transportation and local supply chains have meant that there's not enough flour being produced. Nobody has been able to explain to me why such things weren't thought about before this thing broke out. I can't believe how we seem to have sleepwalked into this!

Supermarkets have moved to ration supplies if they have any, but I haven't seen any bread on the shelves for the last two days.

The local authority have set up a community kitchen in our school and meals are provided throughout the day. We have to try to co-ordinate the meal times in the school with the community and we are really fortunate to have been joined by Tony Arnold - who was a project manager before he retired. Tony has taken on responsibility for all such co-ordination and this has left me free to work with people. One part of the community kitchen, which we've built into the school programme, is the delivery of home meals to the elderly who can't get to the kitchen. We've worked out an area around the school which is "our patch" and each "family" take it's turn to help deliver the meals. The meals themselves are fairly basic - mince and tatties, or a variation of - but at least it's promoting this growing feeling of community identity and mutual support.

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