AIBU to think this could work?

(34 Posts)
Technotropic Wed 17-Jul-13 12:57:57

Hi all

First AIBU so be kind please smile

Reading the food poverty thread got me thinking about a poster's offer to buy someone £20's worth of shopping.

It was a lovely gesture but I have been thinking of going one further and actually sponsoring someone. My idea would be to support someone in the local community in any way possible and getting similar people to do the same. Maybe a £20 food shop a few times a month or something that would make a small but useful difference. It follows on from a ‘Network Neighbourhood’ idea where people do jobs for others for free with no obligation of reciprocity. It would be a community builder providing people don’t take the mick.

I’m not rich by any means but could spare a shopping trip for someone at least once/twice a month and there’s no doubt that there are many single mothers/families that could do with some help (judging by the posts on here).

The only thing I don’t know is whether people would be too proud to accept help from a stranger or even if you knew the person. I also don’t know how this would stand with benefits and whether it would be seen as additional income/support. Thus any comments would be appreciated.

I hope I’m not being naïve. From reading the threads on many boards there is a clear need for greater community and bonding between people. I pay a lot of tax to the gov but the redistribution of wealth is faltering due to the current climate.

Alternatively any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks smile

Ginocchio Wed 17-Jul-13 13:10:35

I suppose that food banks do this to an extent, and makes it more anonymous.

The Network Neightbourhood idea is good though (and avoids the cash issue) - I've often thought that there isn't enough "community" around us, and that it would be good to do things like that to encourage a sense of shared ownership of the bit of society that we inhabit.

Celador Wed 17-Jul-13 18:23:44

I think it's a lovely idea, and am planning on donating a week's shopping to our local foodbank at least once a month if I can afford it. I guess that's kind of the same thing?

One of our local churches does lots of things like this, and has a soup kitchen, distributes clothes and food to the needy and helps drug addicts. It may be worth checking out the churches in your area :-)

Technotropic Wed 17-Jul-13 20:25:55

Thank you Ginocchio/Celador

You're both right, it's a similar concept to a food bank but a little more personal/direct, which is something I thought may have been better all round.

I was thinking it might be a longer term thing and could involve things like mentoring children (out of poverty perhaps). I have worked in schools a fair bit and have found that some kids respond better to an outsider who has been there and come out of it (like I have).

Sometimes single parents struggle with this kind of stuff as their kids enter teenage years and are on a knife edge of going off the rails or going through further education.

First thing's first though, it's simply about reaching out a hand and trying to bridge the gap between those that 'have' and those that 'have not'. Sometimes I think the stereotype of both ends of the scale are poor so could do with breaking down.

SaucyJack Wed 17-Jul-13 20:29:30

I think it would be incredibly unfair to pick just one child or family in your local community of poss. thousands tbh.

Lovely idea to try and bring charity closer to home tho.

giddywithglee Wed 17-Jul-13 20:31:57

Have you heard of Casserole Club?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/local-government-network/2013/apr/16/food-casserole-project-neighbours-social-exclusion

It's specifically designed to support elderly people in your neighbourhood - you get paired up with someone and take them round a home-cooked meal. Not quite what you were talking about but another way of helping very vulnerable members of your community?

Turniptwirl Wed 17-Jul-13 20:33:30

I think it was on a good Samaritans thing on Bbc news site s couple of years ago but I'm sure one of the stories was a family suffering with unemployment, living if the cheapest basic food they could etc and someone they hardly knew dropped off a couple of bags of shopping including thinks like biscuits as well as essentials

I think it's lovely but supporting a food bank may be an easier way to do it unless you know a family personally who needs the support

Technotropic Wed 17-Jul-13 20:40:48

Possibly SaucyJack but the concept is similar to the many 'sponsor a child' campaigns that target children in countries around the world. It's just closer to home.

You're right that it is a little discriminate but sadly none of us can make a difference to thousands of people in need. If enough people got on board though........

Just a thought.

WafflyVersatile Wed 17-Jul-13 20:43:54

Firstly I'd check what is already out there in your community. I'm sure there are poorly funded local charities that would welcome your time and/or money and some may cover what you have in mind.

bananananacoconuts Wed 17-Jul-13 20:52:23

As a single parent with 2 children and on the bones of my arse skint, i would honestly feel embarrassed to accept a weeks shopping from another person in my community. (We live in a very wealthy village). I am not trying to dismiss your kind thoughts but i would also feel slightly patronised having someone else's food choices delivered to my door.
I do, however, love the community idea. I would be far more comfortable if someone popped round with a stew (and pretended it was leftovers) or if the whole community could come together once a month and all bring something each if they could.

Going on the lines of your idea though, i have a friend who makes food hampers each christmas and along with other members of her church, leave them outside vulnerable people's houses, knock on the door, and leg it! Thus being an anonymous donation and there is no pride in accepting the much needed food.

passmetheprozac Wed 17-Jul-13 20:55:16

I would also look at what is happening already, a few good well funded projects reaches far far more people than lots of small funded ones (IYSWIM)

On a side note I think it is shameful that in 2013 in the UK we are doing this. The problem shouldn't exist. But also on saying that I find it amazing the amount of support these charities have for example the Trussell Trust.

I donate to my local food bank when I can. For me personally the support to a well established project far outweighs the prospect of a new charity.

FuckNugget Wed 17-Jul-13 21:03:14

I'm reading this thread with interest because my job involves going into the community and supporting local people to set up projects that they themselves identify as needed and wanted in the community. And ultimately get the community together by working together. The area I work in has pockets of deprivation but nobody has mentioned a food bank project yet, I'm assuming somebody will at some point though.

People like you Techno are just the kind of person I am looking to work with smile.

Technotropic Wed 17-Jul-13 21:14:10

Thanks bananananacoconuts that's the kind of thing I need to hear as it's pointless offering something that people don't want.

FWIW I would never make people's food choices for them. It's not my place to dictate and certainly not like the people on the benefits programme on BBC1. It's more a case of my being there and knowing what it's like to have no food, no money and feeling like nobody knows or cares.

Technotropic Wed 17-Jul-13 21:18:27

Nugget

I guess we'll both be watching this thread with interest then smile. Like I said it's pointless offering something people don't want so maybe a rethink will be in order if the personalised approach is a no-go.

WafflyVersatile Wed 17-Jul-13 21:25:16

Being a single mum with little income can be pretty lonely. Maybe people would appreciate some sort of friendship programme like there is with old people.

bananananananana (gosh it's hard to know when to stop)

Apart from a proper welfare system that properly supports you rather than demonising people for not having money what would you appreciate from your community?

Fucknugget, I had an idea about cooperative buying for local community for groceries, veg, and stuff like condiments and spices parcelled into meal sized portions, so often its the store cupboard staples that are so costly to buy upfront, like olive oil, vinegar, spices etc! If people became members of the coop and paid say 1 pound a week, that could cover a man with a van to go to wholesalers and produce markets once a week, and packaging and it could operate out of a local community centre.

I had my own cafe so know about buying and portion control!

And having the members eventually run the project themselves(with suitable independent governance of course).

I know many market traders locally who would jump at the chance to sell their produce at the end of market on a sunday at not much above cost.

Another offshoot of that would be cookery classes which would create a community lunch once a week...

I think the co op would work because people would be paying cost so saving money, but also saving dignity.

There is a local church that has a community dinner once a week, and they have kitchens etc. It would be a perfect venue.

Have you heard of incredible edible? I can't link on iPad...it's a programme which encourages communities to take ownership of green space and grow food for the benefit of the whole community. It's ace!! Maybe you could get involved with that if there is one in your area? Or set one up?

I have also been a chair of a Tenant's Organisation, so am aware of the, er, challenges of community based not-for profit initiatives!

Chippychop Wed 17-Jul-13 22:20:47

I'm part of a scheme whereby anyone who needs a bit of help can call up and ask for it whether its befriending chores, housekeeping, lift somewhere, prescription collection etc. it's managed and run by volunteers. I don't think it involves food but I daresay word would get round if someone was struggling and needed a "casserole". I do think its a lovely thought OP and I wish it could work without fear of patronising anyone.

chippy, is it just local to you or does it have affiliations around the country

I have just signed up for the casserole club but it hasn't been rolled out yet in my area.

I read that thread too and am recording the programme tonight when its on again.
I had been racking my brains as to what to do to help so I googled food bank in my area and found a newspaper article saying one was needed for here.
I emailed the address provided saying I'd like to help and nothing has come back. Not sure where to go from here now...might ask the health visitor when I take dd for her 1 year check on Friday.

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