Vulnerable clients, food shortages & online deliveries
If you’ve been to the supermarket in the last few weeks, you’ve likely noticed that many shelves are empty and it is much harder to purchase the food items which you would normally use. You’ve also likely noticed that getting an online delivery slot at the minute is next to impossible. So what options are available to our vulnerable clients, particularly those with a limited support team?
Healthy food is critical for a robust immune system and recovering from illnesses and disease (not just Coronavirus COVID-19). In times like this, it is important to think a bit creatively and use the resources at your disposal.
Here are my top 5 tips for navigating the current food situation:
1. For vulnerable clients who require food shopping DELIVERIES, your best options are currently Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Amazon Pantry and Wiltshire Farm Foods.
At Iceland, clients self-identify as being vulnerable when they first log onto the website.
Amazon Pantry has a more limited supply of food items, but you can order online as usual and receive deliveries within 7 days.
For Wiltshire Farm Foods, deliveries are limited to existing customers and people who have received a letter from the NHS to say they are extremely vulnerable. New customers can place orders by calling 0800 046 5614. Existing customers can order online as usual.
2. For clients who are healthy enough to shop for themselves (or have support workers who can shop for them), some stores have designated times just for vulnerable people.
Tesco – the dedicated time for vulnerable shoppers is Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00-10:00 am.
Sainsbury’s – the dedicated time for vulnerable shoppers is Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00-9:00 am.
Coop – the dedicated time for vulnerable shoppers is Monday to Saturday from 8:00-9:00 am and Sunday from 10:00-11:00 am.
Waitrose – has the first hour after opening dedicated to vulnerable shoppers.
Iceland – dedicated times for vulnerable shoppers are store specific so you will need to get in touch with your local shop directly.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t shop at places like Lidl, Aldi, Asda, M&S and Morrisons, it just means they don’t have a designated time for vulnerable clients.
I would hope that support workers would be allowed to shop on someone’s behalf during this time, but I’ve been unable to confirm whether this is the case. If someone knows the answer to this question, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Consider shopping locally.
Convenience stores, green grocers, butchers, farm shops, Asian food shops and open-air markets may have a bigger selection of vegetables, fruit, meat and other items at the minute compared to the larger supermarkets. I’ve even had luck the last few days sourcing hard-to-find items like toilet paper, kitchen roll and soap at completely random locations like tiny local hardware stores. Just be sure to adhere to the government’s guidelines around social distancing and limiting your time outside the home.
4. Be creative with meal planning and freeze what you can.
Going to the shop with a set plan of what you want to buy may not work at the minute, so I find it more helpful to decide when I get to the shop what I can make out of the ingredients which are available. Meals such as soup, stew, chilli and stuffed peppers are quite versatile and let you mix and match depending on which ingredients you can find. They also freeze quite well, so you can batch cook and freeze for a later time when you may be unwell. UHT milk is a bit hard to find right now, so don’t forget that you can freeze skimmed milk (note: only the red top varieties freeze well). Most cheese can also be frozen, although it may be a bit more crumbly after you defrost it.
5. Plan ahead and start thinking about growing food at home.
If you have a garden at home, or space for a few planters, start thinking about what vegetables and herbs you can grow over the next few months. There is no way to know how long the COVID-19 risk is going to last, so start making a plan to grow some of your own food. If you are healthy and can safely go outdoors while still following the NHS/government’s advice, gardening is a wonderful way to spend your daily “exercise” time (plus the food tastes so much better!)
If there any other information you need to help you through this challenging time, please get in touch at 0121 384 7087 or email@example.com. I am here to help in any way that I can.
To read how Specialist Nutrition Rehab is providing dietetic services while keeping clients safe, please click HERE.
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