Ok so post number three and this one is a bit more info about the charity side of what I’m doing and why. Food banks, like I said in the previous post, are something that has hit the news a lot recently and has been getting a fair amount of coverage.
Apologies for getting a bit political here folks but please don’t switch off
My personal feelings on food banks are that there really shouldn’t be a need for them. The UK is the 21st richest country (per capita) in the world according to 2012 IMF figures yet at the same time the Trussell trust (which while it’s the largest food bank organisation in the UK is by no means the only one) gave out nearly 350,000 emergency food packages in the year 2012-13. To put that into more tangible numbers that’s 1 person in 200 needing emergency aid right across the country. Just for a second think how many friends you have on facebook, or contacts in your phone, over 200? Then on average one or more of them has needed to use a food bank in the last 12 months. Add to that the fact that the need for this aid is increasing at an alarming rate and you start to get an idea of the scale of the problem we are facing.
Now on the flip side of that just two days ago we had “fat cat Wednesday” a name given to the day which saw a select working elite in the UK earning more than the average UK wage in just 5 working days. So while a person on an average wage gets about £12 an hour some others are looking at well over £1000. I think it’s this that angers me the most, the huge gap in wealth that has appeared in the last decade, to quote one of the best know economists of the 18th century ““No society can surely be flourishing and happy of which by far the greater part of the numbers are poor and miserable. ” Adam Smith
So that’s enough about why shouldn’t need food banks (as if I don’t stop now I’ll get a higher blood pressure than I get after a run) but dealing with the reality of the situation we clearly we do need them and it’s that immediate need for them that I wanted to try and help with.
Food banks as a concept are not like soup kitchens and don’t just give out free stuff to whoever needs them (As Lord Freud erroniously thinks) you actually have to have been assessed by a front line service to be able to use them so someone somewhere has said “yes, you really do need that extra help” and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to try and support them. Unlike just giving money to an individual food banks work in a clear and organised fashion, the packages given are full of useful things that will actually help and as they are things like canned food you know that they are serving the purpose they are meant for. As well as that the centres can offer advice on how to cope with the situation you’re in and suggest other sources that may help you as well and that’s something I can really support as they are not just helping in the short term but also trying to help in a much wider way as well.
So before I ramble on any more that’s my edited thoughts on the matter and why I want to help. Basically in a society with an increasingly gross rich/poor divide I can’t see how ethically anyone can sit by while their neighbours go without and though I would rather see that divide closed in the meantime I really want to try and help with the consequences this has caused