Two thousand meal boxes are being delivered to families with young children this Easter holiday in an initiative designed to help those who are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Devon County Council initiative, called 'The Goodie Box', sees ingredients and simple recipe ideas delivered to families’ front doors this week.
Included within the Goodie Box are ingredients for families to make:
- Sweet potato curry
- Super cheesy macaroni (vegan alternative - Taste of the Mediterranean pasta)
- Veggie cheeseburgers and skin-on chips
- Comforting casserole
- Sweetcorn fritters with mango salsa
- Crunchy Rainbow pittas
- Banana bake
Each recipe has tips on how to swap or add ingredients (including meat and fish), and advice on healthy eating, and how to prevent food waste.
All the recipes use store cupboard and widely available ingredients, many of which are also consistent with food available for purchase with Healthy Start vouchers (should families be eligible).
Also included in the box is a fun book with activities and useful information for the family, and cress seeds with planting instructions.
Although there has been no specific eligibility to receive the meal boxes, professionals who work with young families have helped to identify those who may be having a difficult time right now and who would enjoy and benefit from The Goodie Box.
Ruby Entwistle of Public Health Devon, and coordinator for The Goodie Box initiative, said: "We know a lot of families with very young children have found the coronavirus pandemic extremely challenging. Many families’ incomes have changed and they have been faced with new sources of stress, which can affect both mental and physical health. These pressures can make it difficult for families to eat healthily.
“The Goodie Boxes are designed to help connect children and parents with food, and provide some inspiration for recipes which are healthy for people and planet. The recipes themselves are simple, and good fun for families to make together. And there are tips on how to eat up the leftovers, so that there's no food wasted.
"So these boxes are about eating well, but they're also about having fun as a family and learning important skills, from planning and preparing healthy meals, to minimising food waste."
Nicola from Ipplepen and her family of six received their Goodie Box this week. Nicola said: “Fantastic concept and we got our box yesterday! We couldn't afford one of those fancy food boxes, so this was just a lovely way of trying something like that. Apparently my older boys are making the burgers for tea so fingers crossed!”
Damien from Bideford and family also received their box this week. Damien said: “It was like Christmas all over again! The kids were especially excited as their box had a mango in it and they had never seen one before. We were all excited to cook the recipes. It was such a simple thing to apply for, and brought the whole family so much joy.”
And Candice, from Torrington, said on behalf of her family: “It was totally wonderful to receive the massive amount of fresh produce, absolutely overwhelmed by the amount myself and my son received. To get this Goodie Box today has really helped us out. The amount was amazing, it all looks fantastic, it has taken the pressure off to feed myself and my son for next couple of weeks.”