Author Topic: Who really goes to a food bank?  (Read 849 times)

lankou

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Who really goes to a food bank?
« on: June 29, 2017, 09:13:53 AM »
Almost two-thirds of users had a health condition, half of households using food banks included someone with a disability and a third had mental health problems.

More at link:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-40431701

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 01:31:21 PM »
I read it and thought of something I hadn't thought of before but which is probably obvious to other people.

I had tended to think in the past that when it comes to politicians and influential people in and related to our current government, that they fell into two main categories - those that understand why people need foodbanks but find it politically expedient to try to convince people that people aren't hungry, and those, albeit not many, that seriously don't get it, that have themselves bought into the rhetoric.  The latter, may or may not actually care. 

But I hadn't stopped to think about the fact that there will be many people in politics and positions of political influence that seize every perk and every financial gain they can, and simply cannot conceive that others wouldn't do likewise.  If you are an MP who claims for overpriced and unnecessary items for your London house then 'flips' and does the same with your constituency house, an MP who really pushes the bounds on just what you can claim expenses for in terms of food, travel, stationery, equipment etc., then surely it would be perfectly logical to you that people would take food parcels without actually needing them, and that you'd probably stretch a point on eligibility?  If you're a newspaper magnate or a rich businessman or investor that influences politicians and voters, isn't there a good chance you juggle your finances, as it were? 


Monic1511

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 07:52:42 PM »
Food bank users are a varied lot in my experience.  Previously if you ran out of food you would go to the local church and ask the minister/officer/priest if they had any food you could have.  Churches have been doing this for over 100 years.  The Trussell Trust has sort of taken over this area and introduced a structure and rules to the distribution, although many foodbanks operate from church halls and are run by church volunteers so tend to have the ethics of that church - the local food bank manager explained that they would not ask for lottery funding because the churches were uncomfortable taking funds from a organisation that gives out the profit from gambling,  gambling being one of the causes of poverty.  Many a parent turns up at the church asking for money as partner has blown the wages in the bookies and they have nowt for the messages in the next week.

In my area if you want a food voucher ( referral to the foodbank) you need to phone the local advice agency who will check your benefits are correct, if your on benefits, discuss your options if your in debt and have no money left for food and will get you an appointment with a money advisor to sort out the long term problem, if you have started work and have no money for the next few week then its asking the employment advice team to pay for some of the travel costs to get to work to free up money for food.  If you've just had a crisis its help sort that out if possible and once all that's been discussed a food voucher will be emailed to the foodbank.  Officially you are allowed 3 in a 12 month period but when someone gets their 5th one we start asking the foodbank if they are happy to continue to supply and they normally say yes - I can understand its the Christian ethics of help the poor hungry etc but sometimes it exacerbates the problem.

I have had single dads with weekend children, families hosting relatives for a funeral, working people 3 weeks into the month who have run out due to debt or not getting enough hours the previous month, the long term unemployed who cant budget, the EAU workers who have been paid off and refused benefit because they don't meet the habitual residence rules despite living here for 4 years. agency staff also phone up.  Most are very upset at having to ask for help and of course you get the abusers who argue that its their entitlement to get a voucher, they get a lecture although they normally turn up at the food bank and the manager phones to say issue a voucher.

So who uses a food bank, anyone and everyone, the ones that annoy me are the ones who think that a food voucher is a voucher for £30  to go to the local supermarket and fill their trolley, or the ones who look through the parcel and say I don't want that I don't like that etc, if your hungry you'd take it and say thanks, but I'm a cynic that way.

that's my experience and if its not yours good, but remember foodbanks are not new, just more organised.

lankou

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2017, 07:58:23 PM »


that's my experience and if its not yours good, but remember foodbanks are not new, just more organised.

There are however a LOT more of them because of an escalating need.

Fiz

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2017, 01:04:23 PM »
Food banks are tricky things for people with eating disorders. A lot of the time I wouldn't eat a thing provided by my local foodbank. I'd rather be hungry and consequently lose weight than try and overcome the sheer terror of eating a carbohydrate or refined sugar (which is in most tins) for example. 2 or 3 years back all my children were coming for dinner, I had meat in the freezer and fresh veg but unsurprisingly had no carbs and at that time had no money at all.

I phoned my church and asked someone from the community team if I could just have one bag of rice. I made it clear that was all I needed and all I wanted. I was given 3 large shopping bags of various groceries that I'd never be able to eat. It's not because I'm fussy, it's because the foods terrify me and I get so angry with myself if I eat off plan I end up expressing that in damaging ways. I guess they were shocked I couldn't afford a bag of rice and were trying to be helpful but I did feel guilty and I doubt I'd ask for anything again. ie one bag of rice. I'm not sure why that wasn't possible. Anyway I asked my dd to take the bags to my niece who's a single Mum of two living on benefits and she wanted all of it and was very grateful so it was well used by people who needed it.

I wouldn't have felt guilty at all about receiving one bag of rice but I felt guilty for months that I handed on 3 bags of groceries to my niece. She had everything but the rice. In the city I hear they have fresh fruit and veg in their food bank,  they are blessed indeed.

lankou

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2017, 01:08:37 PM »
In the city I hear they have fresh fruit and veg in their food bank,  they are blessed indeed.

Food Banks do not stock perishable food.

Fiz

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 01:30:25 PM »
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 01:33:08 PM by Fiz »

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 01:42:56 PM »
May I mention something that may help to explain the perishable thing...

The biggest and best-known franchise chain of foodbanks in the country is the Trussell Trust.  They're the ones we hear of, the brand name and logos we see, the public face of foodbanks.  They don't normally stock perishable foods.  I don't know whether any of their foodbanks do, but it's not their policy to do so.

However, there are lots of foodbanks that are not Trussell, including little ones, often, but not always, attached to a place of worship.  But some are run by community groups or in shops.  For example, I read just the other day that a group in London is setting up a community fridge where people can leave food for others.  It will be in a shop/café (they named it, but I didn't pay attention to which it was), which will take responsibility for cleaning it and keeping an eye on what's in it.

There are also foodbanks that operate in conjunction with community 'soup kitchens', which may be little more than a trailer on a car taken out to the centre of a town for the homeless and poor, with hot food and also some food to take away and eat another time and toiletries; or which may be tables and chairs in a room somewhere with free hot meals and food to take home as well.

Again these can be an extension of community meals that aren't just for the specifically hungry and poor.  For example, it's not a rarity for gurduwaras to have free food that's there for both worshippers and non-worshippers alike.  Walk in off the street and eat. 

So foodbanks vary and we get so used to the sorts we read about and the sorts we have locally that it is easy for us to forget just how muchy they vary.

But there are most definitely foodbanks with fresh food, including things like fruit and veg that people can take home and cook, and things like milk.  They're just not the most common or best known sort.

Having said that, I haven't heard of any foodbanks that stock fresh (i.e. uncooked) fish or meat.  Maybe that's a step too far that would bring the environmental health people worrying around, and there are plenty of community centres that cook donations, particularly from supermarkets, of fresh fish and meat, for people in the community, via schemes like Fareshare.

Fiz

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2017, 02:00:32 PM »
Yes they don't do meat or fish in the city for sure.

lankou

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2017, 02:05:57 PM »
There is a difference between a food bank and a "soup kitchen."

Monic1511

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2017, 07:29:01 PM »
There are food banks where you can get fresh food, the scenario is this, the local supermarket / bakery has food that's at its sell by date and they cant sell it, they pack it up and hand it over to the local churches / other religious groups.
These groups then distribute the fresh food to the local people that are vulnerable,  I know because the local Salvation Army lighthouse often gets the food and brings it to the church to distribute it to the people who need it.

This is not a soup kitchen, mind you the food back in the local town also feeds the service users with either home made cakes and in winter you get home made soup.

Yes "Official Trussell Trust" foodbanks don't distribute perishable food but that's because they have a warehouse where they store the very large donations they get.

As for escalating need, in some ways that is debatable - I am not saying you are wrong but if there was no trussell trust foodbank the hungry would eventually approach their church and the churches rarely keep figure of how many folk turn up skint looking for food.  The ministers etc have enough to do without keeping stats.  Other people would have just continued to neglect themselves.  Food poverty was with us during Maggie Thatchers time but we didn't have official food banks.




lankou

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2017, 07:44:12 PM »


As for escalating need, in some ways that is debatable -

It isn't debatable at all, welfare reform and cuts, plus the attitude of the DWP and JobCentre Plus has increased the need from a few thousand to well over a million. (I suspect it is nearer 2 million because the Trussell Trust only accounts for around half of the food banks.)  Churches and the Salvation Army just could not cope with that.
In Cornwall for instance, there is now a food bank of some kind in every town and an increasing number of villages as well.
Since the last lot of welfare reforms (cuts) in April the need is going to increase dramatically.

Monic1511

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2017, 08:48:37 PM »
you missed my point, the "need" was there before but was hidden, yes welfare reform has made it worse but its only by organising things that stats have been produced.   Trussell Trust FB's are a double edged sword, the church ran a breakfast club and food bank for years in my town, trussell moved in and set up an official one and the local supermarkets no longer donate to the church because the have already donated to the trussell trust,   so all the unofficial users of the church FB have to access the trussell one.  Different areas operate in different ways,

problem with the trussell one is that it does get abused and although they are few its very depressing to get an email from the foodbank saying do not issue any more vouchers to the following 3 names,  as WRO's we know that the 3 names are 2 people who have fake ID's but until the FB says don't issue a voucher we do it anyway.  Even if we do discourage someone from their 5th voucher in as many weeks they go to the FB and kick off and the manager says issue one anyway.

Its going to get worse anyway, once universal credit is rolled out to live service more demands will be made on every charity in the UK.


Sunny Clouds

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2017, 11:20:40 PM »
"There is a difference between a food bank and a "soup kitchen.""

I did not say that they were the same thing, I said "There are also foodbanks that operate in conjunction with community 'soup kitchens'"

I'm not sure why that's so difficult to understand.  Maybe these things are different in different parts of the country. 

Here, I wouldn't think it odd if I were to be hungry and walking past a mosque or gurduwara or church or temple or whatever and found that there were times when I could walk in and eat there and also, either at the same time or at different times, get food to take home.  That might be a different place of worship if the interfaith group runs a rota.  Ditto community centres.

There's no rigid pattern, any more than a clothes bank might consist of a room somewhere, or might consist of a clothes rail in the shopping area with clothes hanging on it and a sign telling you to help yourself.

If people in the community knock on old people's doors when it's icy out offering carrier bags of free food, some hot, some storable, some fresh, is that a food parcel or a donation or a gift or a shared meal?  As I see it, it's a bit of all of those things. 

Some organisations, groups, people do things one way, others do it another way.


Fiz

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Re: Who really goes to a food bank?
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2017, 04:28:17 AM »
The use of our food bank has increased massively every single year for the last decade. Benefit sanctions are an often cited reason and as said with the delay in UC payments as people switch we will get more and more, as we are doing despite the town gradually changing over to UC postcode by postcode. They completed half the postcodes in my town then have moved to another town. Method in the madness I'm sure. I have no idea whether my town's foodbank is Trussell or not. I will try and find out.