Friday, 20 December 2013

The Trussell Trust: Food Banks

Christmas is almost upon us and the excitement is building.  No doubt the gifts have already been bought, maybe even wrapped, and are waiting for their chance to form a gloriously disheveled heap under the tree in your warm, cosy home.

I doubt there are many people reading this who haven't felt the financial bite of austerity, yet even though Christmas might not be as lavish as years past, most are still able to indulge in a little luxury in the company of loved ones.

Except that not everyone can.  Some cannot actually afford to feed themselves and their families.

Can you imagine?

Having to choose: pay to keep the roof over your head, or eat.   With half a million people currently using food banks in the UK, this is happening more and more.  It really shouldn't be in this day and age.  Yet this week showed us that not all politicians - particularly those with the power to tackle food poverty - are taking the issue seriously.

And so it falls on the rest of us in society to help our friends and neighbours.  After all, there but for the grace of God...

Today I took my daughter to donate a bag of food to a food bank.  There are three collection points in our village.  I waited until I had picked my daughter up from playschool because I wanted her to come with me.  I wanted to explain to her why we were giving away food and why we must always look out for those who are not as fortunate.

We don't have an awful lot ourselves at this point in time.  I have just started a business, and anyone who has done this knows that it is not the path to instant riches.  But as a family we still have enough.  I like to think that if we didn't, we would receive help.  Indeed we have received help from our generous families.  And for that we count our blessings.

Personally, I feel the help a society gives to those who are struggling should not have to come directly from its citizens in the form of charitable handouts, reminiscent of the almsgiving of feudal Britain.  But with the absence of a real living wage and the ever-increasing squeeze on income - both earned and welfare, a 21st century version of that is how it must be.

We donated food through a Trussell Trust food bank collection point.  If you are in a position to do the same, then please visit the link below and find a collection point local to you.

Trussell Trust Food Banks Network

6 comments:

  1. As I wrote on another post yesterday, I am shocked at how quickly food banks have become acceptable in such a rich country as the UK, and I think your comparison to feudal times is completely apt and very worrying x

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    1. I am shocked too. Shocked, saddened, disgusted... The debate in the commons this week plumbed new depths for me and it does seem that we are fast returning to the dark ages in terms inequality.

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  2. Food banks, and the Red Cross providing relief here in the UK for the first time since the end of the second world war, are a direct result of the Con-Dem coalition making their "recovery" one for big business but not for actual people in my mind.

    Why pay a living wage to your staff and impact adversely on your bottom line when you can pay a pittance and see foodbanks pick up the difference? Or the government via working tax credits for that matter. It's extremely disingenuous for the government to talk about recovery when we have record numbers of working people living in poverty. I fully hope and expect to see the next general election completely eradicate the Lib Dems as a political party- they have gone against all of their principles and stood by while all of this has happened on their watch and done nothing. The best you can say about the Tories is they have done what could have been expected of them in a worst case scenario but the Lib Dems? For shame.

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you have said, Alex.

      I too expect the eradication of the now aptly-coloured yellow party, but unfortunateky I do not expect the same of the Conservatives. I think their tactics have been too effective and we are set on a path it's going to take a lot of coming back from.

      That said, the fact that people are giving to Food Banks is a beacon of hope in that they find food poverty unacceptable and are prepared to act when their government wont.

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  3. So sad yet important that this is something that needs highlighting at this time of year. xx

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