It is, to me, criminal that so many people in this country are reliant on food banks to put dinner on the table for their children. According to the Trussell Trust they provided over 900,000 emergency 3 day parcels in the financial year 13-14. That’s a 163% increase from the previous year.
Nearly a million families without enough food to eat, and that’s only the figures for one charity, how many more have gone elsewhere? How many more have just gone hungry without access to this amazing charitable help?
The figures are just too scary to contemplate. So why is we aren’t all giving something when we can?
I’m a regular supermarket visitor – as are most people, whether you shop online or are brave enough to go in person to the store and fight your way through the crowds and shiny displays of seasonal excess. Our local Tesco’s regularly have people collecting for our charity. I have seen trolleys full being given, by people who probably don’t have much spare themselves, which always gladdens my heart. People are generally awesome!
But today I went to a different supermarket, a “higher class” shop, the one with you now associate with penguins! And they have a food bank too, a tiny single basket, tucked away near the door, one that you pass by without really even noticing, and it was virtually empty. To be fair to them, it may just have been emptied, but given it’s position I would guess that most of their customers don’t even see it. I certainly didn’t.
The store was pretty busy, lots of people in rather nice, expensive clothing, buying premium products and then loading them into their big flashy cars. And the only person I saw put even a thought into a donation? My daughter – the student nurse! A person who lives well below what the powers that be tell us is the poverty line, someone with a tight budget and with little to spare. She made the effort to give, she always does, every time she goes to a supermarket she puts something, however small, into the collection. As does my son, a recent graduate, living on a lower wage, paying of his student overdraft & trying to make his way in the world with limited means! But their thoughts are always with other people who have less. They donate what they can and hope to make a difference, however small, to those with less.
And yet, everyone of those (and I hate to use the term) middle class shoppers I saw today, walked straight past the collection! They ignored the needs of others, and went on home to their warm and comfortable houses to fill themselves with the yummy things they had bought. And probably within a mile of that home is a family, cold and hungry. Unable to give their children a hot meal let alone “a good Christmas”. And I realised, only some people are generally awesome, not everyone thinks of others and because of the selfish attitude of those people with lots to spare, there will be children hungry in Colchester tonight.
Am I surprised? sadly I guess I’m not! It always seems to be that those who have less, give more. And those who have most, give least.
So please, whatever your political standpoint please give something next time you shop!
If you’re unsure of what to give have a look at this list, consider toiletries, nappies or baby food, healthy treats for children, sanitary towels or razors, things that you can’t do without, but people with diabetes and food allergies go hungry too, so a gluten free or low sugar item will help enormously.
Remember your children will go to bed with a full belly – will everyone who lives in your town?
Photo courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/bromfordgroup/