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Tales from the Food Bank: why sausages and beans are a food banker's worst nightmare

I BREAK out in a cold sweat. This is a new and baffling food-sorting dilemma: at my level of food-banking experience I am just not equipped to cope with it.

Foodstuffs here are classified according to very specific groups: baked beans; spaghetti hoops and other canned pasta in sauce; tinned meat; tinned fish; tinned veg and so on. They are put on the shelves in great big boxes according to this system.

That way they can very easily be shoved into a food parcel based on a list drawn up to give roughly the right amount of nutrition to keep someone going for three or four days.

But this can is ... tricky. It's baked beans ... and sausages. Beans or meat? Meat or beans?! What am I to do?

I decide it is above my grade and needs to be referred up to those more experienced in such matters. Of course I ask both a man and a woman, and sure enough get two very different views.

Her point of view is that the can should go in the meats box, largely on the grounds that a vegetarian food-bank user might get a nasty surprise if he or she found some of those squishy little cylinders of processed meat lurking in what they had thought was baked beans.

His argument is quite the opposite and I suspect based on personal experience: imagine being hungry and opening a can that was supposed to be just boring beans and finding meat in there - absolute bonus! Conversely, it could be a soul-sapping disappointment to think you'd got a can of meat and it turns out to be mostly beans.

I go with the latter, reasoning that vegetarian food bank users were few and far between, and would probably be clearly flagged up on their voucher.

Next - and it's beef-filled ravioli. Without a moment's hesitation the spaghetti hoops box was loaded with a tasty surprise ...

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Food and drink

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