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Tales from the Food Bank: I just hope Prince Charming doesn't turn up ...

The entire food-bank crew is doubled up laughing.

This donation is so fantastic it's hard to believe as I pull it out of a carrier bag filled with cans and bottles. It's a beautifully made glass stiletto-heeled shoe, almost full size, with a stoppered top. Inside are rich red preserved chillies. I think have a record for the oddest donation.

I have also acquired a new nickname: Cinderella.

I'm guessing it was once a romantic gift, and now the romance has died the glass slipper gets the boot, but if whoever gave it reads this, don't for a moment think we're ungrateful: we WILL find someone to give it to. And you've given us a great moment: God knows when you've date-checked your hundredth can of soup for the day, waded through more baked beans than the entire cast of Blazing Saddles, and seen enough tinned custard to take a bath in, you need a bit of humour.

The shiny trays of stuff bought from supermarkets with cash donations are easy to sort as they are bound to be in date and can be shelved in bulk, but they don't give us the same sense of exploration, adventure, risk: no treasure will be found in them, no pheasant pate, or fancy chocolates that will delight someone's kids, no canned lychees to liven up someone's diet, and no chilli-filled glass slippers.

The shoe goes on the "specials" table at one side, to be pointed to by still-laughing volunteers every time anyone new comes in. It sits with the oyster sauce and the tapioca, the olives stuffed with anchovies and the spiced lime chutney. Someone tells me tapioca is used for repairing the roads in Denmark. Google will not confirm it, so I conclude he is lying, but I will add this unlikely but convincing factoid to my repertoire, alongside the certainty that 60% of Americans now weigh more than half a ton.

Tapioca? Does anyone still eat that?

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