I’ve spent most of the morning spooning sticky toffee sauce and squares of sticky toffee pudding into tin foil trays and popping on a lid.
And it’s quite possibly the most rewarding thing I’ve done all year.
It’s Christmas in two days’ time. I bet you can’t bear the thought of those queues for last-minute Christmas presents. You’re squirming with apprehension over the tedious motorway drive to visit family for Christmas Day. You’re worrying if you’ve bought enough carrots; will you remember the tin foil because you forgot last year; is there plenty of fizz to pour on Christmas Day morning. You’re wondering if little Alfie will have enough presents under the tree so just in case you buy him a tiny something extra.
Think about those worries. Then put them into context with people who can’t afford Christmas dinner. People who won’t be queuing in shops but will be queuing at food banks. People who could be hungry this Christmas. Think of the little Alfies whose mums and dads can’t afford to buy special tiny extra gifts for under the tree.
It’s incredibly sad isn’t it and so wrong. But what is the relevance to a wine blog. I’ve mentioned before, a few days ago, that I’m very lucky to taste lots of wines and then to share the love by stringing together a few selected letters of the alphabet into a logical format – ie words – which in turn tempt people to buy, then pour, then drink. Isn’t it wonderful that lots of us are in a position to do that.
Some people aren’t.
I’ve been increasingly grateful over the stroke of luck in discovering this wine thing. That even at my old bat’s age something has come along to pivot my life onto a new axis. But in parallel I’m also aware that lots of people perceive wine as a luxury; that there’s so many needs around, basic living needs.
A few weeks ago my colleagues at the Liverpool Echo together with Can Cook Studio launched a Share Your Lunch crowd-funding campaign to raise £10,000 to help feed poverty-stricken families this Christmas. The people of Liverpool dug deep and raised the money. High Five to them.
I’m one of several volunteers who’ve given up a bit of time to support the Share Your Lunch Christmas initiative in the Can Cook kitchen. Today I opted to plate up the puddings (being a Northern Girl I worried the gravy section might be too tempting).
I was chatting to one of the other volunteers as we spooned sauce into a tin foil container and she said: “This comes with love, whoever you are.”
We did what we did, then another team boxed up the meals before a handful of driver volunteers arrived to deliver the food to families ahead of Christmas.
Someone phoned a young mum to say a family meal was on the way. She was overcome – you’ve made my day, she said.
I’m not writing this blog to big myself up as I’m just a tiny, tiny speck of dust in the Share Your Lunch initiative. Look. All I did was turn up and spill sauce. I’m not writing to say ooo look at me, Miss Goodie Two Shoes, doing my bit for charity. I’m writing to ask for one thing.
This. If you’ll be popping a champagne cork on Christmas Day morning; if you’ll be pouring a special pinot noir with the turkey; if you’ll be excited by the port and the cheese; if you’ll be kicking off your shoes with a Baileys when the kids have gone to bed; if you’ll be doing all those ifs …. I’m asking that you pause for a moment and reflect how bloody lucky you are.
Spare a thought for people who use the word “if” every day when they’re wondering if they can afford to feed the kids. Yes, spare a thought for them and maybe, just maybe, make a 2017 resolution to actively help them.
Find out more about the Share Your Lunch initiative here.
What a team! Thank to all volunteers for getting stuck in this morning, hundreds of meals are now en route to houses across Merseyside. pic.twitter.com/4h8gT0g2h1
— Food Poverty (@foodpoverty) December 22, 2016