As someone who regularly reads the news, it comes as no surprise that in the UK, the rise in the need for food banks is rising. The more people are using, the more important they become to those in need. There has been a few articles recently that have caught my attention, such as this one and this one. These are people from all walks of life, who find themselves with no other option other than to get a referral for the food bank, so they can eat something for the next few days.
Rising living costs, an unexpected expense, changes to income and/or benefits and job loss are all reasons why someone might find themselves at the mercy of the handouts a food bank provides. Perhaps a family tragedy, or illness has seen them without anywhere else to turn. They also become a coping strategy, for people know that, in the even that food becomes a rarity, there is somewhere to turn, and someone to talk to.
Food banks in the UK distribute food to those in need, including the homeless. It provides a service that is, unfortunately, a necessity in this modern age. The fierce rise in food poverty in the UK, and elsewhere, means that more and more people are going hungry. Children are going to bed hungry at night, as their parents struggle to feed them. Parents are skipping meals just to make sure their children have something to eat. Jack Monroe wrote an excellent piece, though in the depths of despair, called Hunger Hurts. In that post, you can hear the sadness in her voice as she talks about how it feels to hit the bottom.
The Trussell Trust is one of the big food banks in the UK, providing 100s of people each week with the food basics they need to survive on. The list on their website of things you can donate to a food bank includes the following:
– UHT milk
– fruit juice
– tinned tomatoes
– tinned rice pudding
These things can be bought pretty cheaply; for example, at Tesco, the prices are:
– UHT milk – 49p
– sugar (500g) – 99p
– fruit juice – orange juice – 65p
– soup – value – 20p
– tinned tomatoes – value – 34p
– cereals – value cornflakes – 31p
– tinned rice pudding – 15p
– tea/coffee – tea – 20p coffee – 50p
– rice/pasta – rice 45p pasta – 35p
– biscuits – custard cream – 35p shortbread – 35p digestives – 31p
All of these things cost £5.64, if you go for the value range where available. In the supermarket we shop at, there is a big bin at the checkouts where you can donate food to the local food bank. It isn’t there every week, but it is there often enough. Even if you just add some tins of soup or some tea bags each time you shop, how much better can you make someone’s day? It really is the little things that count.
I’m also going to try harder with this one; I sometimes remember to add something to our basket to then pop into the bin at the end of the shop, but I don’t always remember. As I think about my new year aims, and what I want to accomplish, I think that charity is going to come into play a bit more. So, I pledge to donate more often to food banks.
How about you? Do you donate to food banks? Have you ever needed to visit one?