Foodbanks! If ever there was a sign of modern times it is the foodbank. The thought of people going hungry in one of the richest countries in the world galls me, especially the children yet I gather there are over a million of them skipping meals every day. It is a travesty, a badge of shame. You would think so anyway.
I have said many times that the UK is a rich country filled with poor people. You may say that this is the way it has always been yet this is no argument for me. It is a problem we don’t solve because we choose not to. There is enough money in the country for everyone, there is enough food to go round yet commodities are distributed unevenly. It is this inequality that makes me angry. If we put our collective minds to it, food poverty would be confined to history.
Each week I give to our local Wansbeck foodbank. As the largest independent foodbank in Northumberland it takes pride in helping to relieve the consequences of poverty or financial hardship by providing food to the hungry. Since 2016 it has been able to issue food to the value of £500,000. It is doing great work.
I hope that I am helping, even in a small way. I hope that those less fortunate than me are at least able to go to bed with a full stomach and not have to worry about what they will have in the morning.
At times though I am conflicted and wonder if giving to foodbanks is a bad thing. The public’s generosity allows the issue to be parked. The rise of foodbanks shows the caring nature of the population and shows how it rises to help in times of need. But it lets the government off the hook, It allows them to preside over a system which creates the oxymoron of the working poor. It allows them to take money from the poor and give it to the rich in the knowledge that those who can will feel guilty enough to pick up the slack. It allows them to perpetuate the myth of the undeserving poor and that poverty is somehow always your own fault.
Should I keep giving to the foodbank or stop? However conflicted I feel I will carry on, if only because one day I might be in despair and hope that people are there to help out. I wouldn’t want to rely on this government.