THE BLOG
20/11/2013 08:22 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

British Red Cross Food Parcels Saved My Life

As part of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent humanitarian network, The British Red Cross helps millions of people in the UK and around the world prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies, disasters and conflicts. The British Red Cross works with other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the delivery of parcels as well as the IFRC and ICRC.

When German forces occupied my home town of St Helier, Jersey, in June 1940, I was just eight years old and - along with most of the other children on the Islands - thought it was all great fun at first.

As food supplies dwindled, I remember getting hungrier and hungrier as we - myself, my sister and my parents - typically lived on about 1,100 calories a day along with the rest of the community.

Living in the centre of town, we were unable to grow our own food and on most days I was going to school with a slice of raw swede for my lunch.

It was incredibly difficult for my parents, forced to worry about where our next meal was coming from and the uncertainty and despair was to last for about four years.

When the British Red Cross food parcels finally arrived, towards the end of 1944, we were desperately short of food and opening them up was like it was Christmas.

Parcels were stocked in the shops in town and heading down with our prams and wheelbarrows to collect them was a day out for the family.

The treats inside were brilliant - I'd not eaten tinned salmon for years and I can still remember the taste of powdered milk. Wonderful stuff! There was chocolate as well, and it probably wasn't very good compared to now but it tasted great then. In all seriousness, the British Red Cross food parcels saved our lives.

I recently travelled down to the organisation's Emergency Response Unit in Bristol to help mark 25 million food parcels supplied since the First World War and to commemorate 150 years of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

I was able to look at a replica food parcel from World War II and compare it to a modern-day box - we used to get cigarettes in our deliveries, which pleased my father greatly, but now they're packed full of fresh fruit and vegetables.

The British Red Cross still does extraordinary work - there are currently 30,000 volunteers working in the UK and over 90 million worldwide.

Even over 60 years later, I can still remember the constant hunger - all islanders who lived through it will tell you that - and I can only thank the British Red Cross for stepping in, as they do all over the world.

As part of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent humanitarian network, The British Red Cross helps millions of people in the UK and around the world prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies, disasters and conflicts. The British Red Cross works with other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the delivery of parcels as well as the IFRC and ICRC.

Nearly seven million people are still in need of assistance in and around Syria - a donation of £10 could help to buy a hygiene parcel for a family of five - including washing powder, toilet rolls, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes and sanitary pads - essential when people have had to leave their homes and have nothing.

To donate to the Syria appeal go to: http://www.redcross.org.uk/Donate-Now/Make-a-single-donation/Syria-Crisis-Appeal