A VULNERABLE young man with underlying health conditions has hit out at the government for the quality of its food parcels which contain no fresh produce or meat.

Cham Titus, from Salisbury, suffers from hereditary angioedema, a life-threatening condition that causes swelling in different parts of the body, asthma and mental health.

He is among the 1.5 million people in the UK at high risk from coronavirus and as such, has been told by the NHS to spend the next three months at home.

Due to his inability to leave the house, not even to buy groceries, Cham is entitled to receive weekly food parcels from the government. But upon opening the first box, delivered to him on Sunday, the 29-year-old said he was “shocked”.

“These are meant to be your essentials but what are you supposed to eat exactly?,” he said.

“It’s good if you like your oranges and pears but for your main meals there’s nothing there. You’ve got half a can of beans and a couple of tins of tomato soup so you can have tomato on toast and potatoes.

“I was just shocked that that’s what the government expects people to live off for a week.”

Salisbury Journal: Cham Titus, 29, is shielding from coronavirus.Cham Titus, 29, is shielding from coronavirus.

As a vegetarian, Cham is not concerned about the absence of meat. However, the lack of fresh produce such as vegetables, eggs and butter, means he won’t be able to cook healthy meals.

Other vulnerable people with specific dietary requirements will also be disappointed by the box which he says is the same for everyone.

“Nobody asked me what my dietary needs are, I understand that we are in a crisis and we need to act fast but I’d like to think they’d have a bit more compassion instead of a one box fits all approach.”

Due to online shopping being “impossible” at the moment – Cham found himself queuing to access a supermarket’s website at 1 o’clock in the morning – he has no choice but to rely on the government’s supplies and some frozen food he managed to buy before the lockdown was enforced.

Community groups in the area have stepped up to help vulnerable adults like him who can’t rely on friends and family but this is something that should not be necessary, he says.

“It’s wonderful to see the community doing that but we shouldn’t rely on other people to do this. There should be something in place for the most vulnerable so that other people don’t have to put themselves at risk.”

The government's food parcel received by Cham contained:

  • Bread
  • A box of cereal
  • Instant coffee
  • Tea 
  • Long life milk 
  • Pasta bake sauce
  • Tinned soup
  • Peas and peach slices
  • Potatoes
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Spaghetti
  • Biscuits
  • Two rolls of toilet paper
  • Shampoo

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been approached for comment.

Cham is also appealing for people to keep donating blood to the NHS as his life-saving medication contains an ingredient derived from blood plasma.