Food banks are a relatively new phenomenon in the UK. The UK has experienced poverty and unemployment before but usually the welfare state has provided for those in most need. Soup kitchens and the like tended to be used by those who where living on the streets full-time or were exceptionally down on their luck, often due to mental illness, alcohol dependency or drug abuse.
Food Banks are proving life savers to a different section of society in the 21st Century and they are increasing.
The Trussell Trust is the organiser behind the many food banks now scattered around the UK. When you consider that according to their statistics more than 13 million people in the UK live below the poverty line, it is easy to see why the use of food banks continues to grow.
Television media reports on UK Food Banks have told of families trying to live on £400 a month. In one the parents did not eat for the odd day here and there in order to feed their child. This particular couple were originally ashamed that they needed such "charity" as a food bank but desperate times lead to desperate measures.
Food banks rely on the support of ordinary people and local communities. It is like a co-operative in the true sense of the word. Those who have a little more helping those living on the edge. In such rollercoaster times who knows when it could be YOU needing the help.
The reasons for a sudden or urgent need to use a food bank may be ill health, redundancy, loss of a partner and more. In many ways the food banks offer a service which saves the government money. In turn this saves all of us.
Just think about it. A family suddenly thrown into a desperate situation with little money for the basic foods.More health problems, a family breakdown or turning to a life of crime are all distinct possibilities.
Whilst the UK government needs to do more to prevent poverty, especially for children, The Trussell Trust fulfils a need in British society. Each food bank offers a three day supply box of food for those in an emergency situation. If you want to help below is a list of items which the Trussell Trust can always utilise:
Milk (UHT or powdered)
Fruit juice (carton)
Sponge pudding (tinned)
Rice pudding (tinned)
Tea Bags/instant coffee
Instant mash potato
Biscuits or snack bars
As welfare benefits continue to be cut to the bone more and more people will be reaching out to this charity. Please support if you are able. The charity had humble beginnings. The website carries details of the Salisbury foodbank. It says, "Starting in a garden shed in 2000, Salisbury foodbank fed 3,906 people in crisis locally in 2011 and is the inspiration behind the UK foodbank network."
No mean feat! There is also advice on starting your own foodbank.