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To think that food banks miss the point a bit?

(104 Posts)
orangecranberry Sat 24-Jan-15 20:22:27

I donated some tins today at Tesco, but was thinking looking in the trolley that it looked an unappetising and generally unappealing array of stuff, largely due to the fact you can't of course donate items that would make a meal such as meat or veg or bread - baked beans without toast can't be too pleasant.

Also, if someone is lacking heat (freezing here just now!) soap, any number of things they might need, food might miss the point. In other words, feeding themselves might be less of a priority than being warm, or putting petrol in the car (many people need cars to work before people chime in with 'sell the car then') - wouldn't it be better if people could go to the CAB, doctors and get a referral not for food but for a smallish sum of cash?

Surely far nicer to spend £1.50 on a loaf of bread and tin of beans than to have just the tin of beans given to you?

TattyDevine Sat 24-Jan-15 20:25:17

I guess the point is that if you can't afford to put food on the table, this will get you through.

There are a million ways a cash sum could be misused. If I was in that much shit even I would be vaguely tempted for a bottle of wine to keep me warm and cheer me up when I should really have the beans - toast or not!

Not really of course with the wine but you see what I mean.

ILovePud Sat 24-Jan-15 20:33:23

Food banks source fresh items just not from the general public, most food banks will put some bread, milk and fresh food in with the parcels they make up.

orangecranberry Sat 24-Jan-15 20:34:12

That's good to know pud; thanks smile

OwlinaTree Sat 24-Jan-15 20:38:51

What ilovepud said.

Bettercallsaul1 Sat 24-Jan-15 20:44:28

It is a horrible thought that people may have to choose between eating and keeping warm. These are the very basics of life.

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Sat 24-Jan-15 20:49:01

Can you still get crisis loans from the job centre? My mum had to use these a lot (no food banks back then).

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 24-Jan-15 20:57:14

One good reason is that if someone is suffering financial abuse, they have food, even if someone is taking the money.

Sometimes where I live people are given cards for local shops. No booze is sold in grocery stores here so no chance of a bottle of wine. More's the pity.

orangecranberry Sat 24-Jan-15 21:04:29

I see what you mean mrs but can't help but think perhaps those cases are not best dealt with either by food banks or by a grant: presumably the premise of food banks is that people are suffering temporary hardships (I realise cases are often more complex than this.)

Stripyhoglets Sat 24-Jan-15 21:04:49

No you can't get crisis loans anymore, which is why the food banks are used so much.

SaucyJack Sat 24-Jan-15 21:07:48

From a biological point of view, food is the number one priority so on that basis YABU.

QueenTilly Sat 24-Jan-15 21:14:16

I agree that sometimes what people really need is MONEY, perhaps for car fuel, etc. But in the last few years, some whipped-up hysteria about it all led to crisis LOANS being abolished, in case any recipients might use the automatic repayments system to help them budget for Christmas presents or car fuel instead of the cost of a new cooker/food for the week.

Giving charity in the form of money just isn't popular, in case people buy something the giver thinks inappropriate. So, food banks is all there is, really.

TranquilityofSolitude Sat 24-Jan-15 21:15:02

Food banks aren't part of a coordinated attempt to sort out the mess - they're just (mostly) churches trying to help people. I don't know about crisis loans but I guess they were part of a government-funded solution. On that basis I don't think it's fair to consider whether or not they miss the point.

ArgyMargy Sat 24-Jan-15 21:18:13

Given that 2/3 of adults are overweight and 4/5 of year 6 kids are overweight, it does seem to be the wrong thing to focus on. Possibly people would prefer money towards heating and electric, or rent or council tax.

Georgethesecond Sat 24-Jan-15 21:19:07

www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/benefits_e/benefits_help_if_on_a_low_income_ew/help_for_people_on_a_low_income_-_the_social_fund_and_other_welfare_schemes.htm#h_budgeting_loans

You can still get a budgeting loan from DWP if you have been on IS or JSA for 6 months.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Sat 24-Jan-15 21:19:07

Wouldn't it be better if people didn't need food banks at all? Isn't it fucking disgusting that in 2014 so many people are having to rely on charity to eat? Isn't it disgusting that govt. are using what should be simple charity to paper over the massive cracks in a system, which we all already pay for, that is supposed to be a safety net to ensure everybody has the minimum they need to live?

I donate regularly to the food bank trolley but unlike all other charitable giving I do, it doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy it makes me really fucking angry!

I agree that money would often be better as it allows flexibility and preserves a bit of dignity for those who need it, and who are the experts on their own lives and what is needed right now in order to survive. Sadly I doubt they would get so many donations if they just gave out money. It's a bit like those shoebox appeals - people like to give stuff as it appeals to their Lady Bountiful tendencies allows them to feel a personal connection to the recipients. Also, food banks can often get deals with local supermarkets to match donations or can buy food in bulk. If they gave people money they couldn't stretch it so far.

Best to just get what the food banks are asking for - they know what they're doing.

coffeetofunction Sat 24-Jan-15 21:22:06

My ex had to use a food bank once, it was amazing... He got cereals, tinned food, pasta, rice, toothpaste, shower gel, bubble bath, shampoo & conditioner, toilet rolls, washing up liquid & soap powder. He got exactly what he need to ensure he could put food in the table, clean clothes & to be clean... No car, no contracts, no " luxuries" just electric... It was a god send!!

Pumpkinette Sat 24-Jan-15 21:23:08

People can put on extra clothes to keep warm if no heating or walk if no petrol.

However if you don't have food there isn't any alternative to eating. I'm sure the system would be abused if it was cash given out rather than food parcels - not by everyone but there are plenty of chancers out there.

I do think its a sorry state of affairs that in this day and age people need to use food banks. I know they have always been there for people who need them but the scale of it now is ridiculous. It's like we are back in the Victorian days.

I usually add some chocolate biscuits or long life cake in with my food bank donations. I like to think it will cheer someone up (possibly if they have kids too) to get a treat or a bit of chocolate. Living on basic food (not basic range but things like beans on toast, noodles etc) for any length of time is pretty grim.

Sorry gone off on a rant.

fatlazymummy Sat 24-Jan-15 21:23:22

Err no, argymargy. Overweight people still need to eat ,you know, and so do their children. Or are you suggesting that poor people should just live off their fat reserves for the 6 weeks (often longer) it takes for their benefits to be processed?

caker Sat 24-Jan-15 21:24:04

Food banks can top up fuel cards.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Sat 24-Jan-15 21:26:05

ArgyMargy yes that's right, it'll do no harm at all to let fat poor people starve for a few days. Maybe they could put everyone on the scales when they turn up and tell the overweight ones to live off their bodily reserves instead hmm

HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs Sat 24-Jan-15 21:33:17

Often people need foodbanks in an emergency. Bills might not need to be paid until payday from work for example, but if that's ten days away and you don't have a penny to your name, you still need to be fed.

mrsminiverscharlady Sat 24-Jan-15 21:35:22

4/5 of year 6 kids are overweight

No they aren't, what a daft thing to say!

orangecranberry Sat 24-Jan-15 21:37:04

People can't put clothes on to heat food up though, and I certainly couldn't walk to work as it's car based!

If it was 3 days until payday and I got £20 I could put £10 in the car and buy some cheap but reasonable food. If I went to a food bank I would get 3 days food but wouldn't be able to get to work, meaning hardly any money next week etc.

Plus bank charges for late bills would massively exacerbate the problem.

Bettercallsaul1 Sat 24-Jan-15 21:43:24

It's like we are back in the Victorian days.

Exactly. But that's the problem with living under an administration which fundamentally believes, like Margaret Thatcher, that "There is no such thing as society .. (only) ... individual men and women and ... families." If a government does its utmost to avoid taking responsibility for its weaker members, and is only interested in those who are able to be self-sufficient, then charitably-funded food banks are the inevitable result.

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