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To think a food bank is not an appropriate place for a school trip?

(95 Posts)
mumofmanymonsters Wed 04-Feb-15 18:33:14

I had to name change because I think it will be obvious who I am!

DD is in 5th year (Scotland, she is 16) and we have had a letter home saying that every class has to take their turn of going to watch how the local food bank works.

I really don't think it's right. Surely people deserve more privacy than a bunch of gawping teenagers?

She doesn't want to go and I'm not making her.

NorwaySpruce Wed 04-Feb-15 18:34:16

Will they actually be there when it's open, or is it just a behind the scenes thin

Hoppinggreen Wed 04-Feb-15 18:35:23

As long as it's not open I think it's a good idea, they can help sort the stuff.

MollyMaDurga Wed 04-Feb-15 18:36:18

Maybe the school doesn't let them see the people getting food but only the volunteers? In that case YABU as I think it's good to understand what's going on poverty-wise in Scotland and the UK.
Seeing as privacy things are usually considered, it wouldn't surprise me if they did it like this, or make sure the schoolkids only get to see people who don't object.

betweenmarchandmay Wed 04-Feb-15 18:36:41

I wouldn't like it either.

MollyMaDurga Wed 04-Feb-15 18:37:54

gah, school is not only about what you like obviously.

mumofmanymonsters Wed 04-Feb-15 18:38:31

While it is open.

The letter suggests they'll be talking to people who agree to it, but there surely can't be enough space to 30-odd teenagers in the store room? I would hate anyone to get turned away because they were worried about being seen.

glenthebattleostrich Wed 04-Feb-15 18:38:56

DNeice did this, she now volunteers with them regularly.

DurhamDurham Wed 04-Feb-15 18:39:14

Maybe the trip will take place behind the scenes, in the room where the food packs are made up? I think that's a good idea, it's a huge task from start to finish I would imaging and would be interesting.

I doubt they would be encouraged to stand and gawp at those people coming in to pick up a food pack.

PotteringAlong Wed 04-Feb-15 18:39:19

I'm not seeing the problem. It's helping out at a charity.

LornMowa Wed 04-Feb-15 18:40:00

I think you are right. I have visited a foodbank (to drop off food) and I think that it would be inappropriate for any visits to take place when there are recipients of the food on the premises. Some of the children may know the people. Are they going to get the children to sign confidentiality agreements?

ChablisLover Wed 04-Feb-15 18:41:31

I don't see the issue at all

She will be helping with a charity, and seeing how poverty can affect this else's fortunate than her
If she was 5 then yes it wouldnt be reasonable but she is in 5th year that's old enough to see how the world works

MrsCs Wed 04-Feb-15 18:41:58

I think it's a great idea. It explores social responsibility and a major issue affecting people at the moment.

WiiUnfit Wed 04-Feb-15 18:42:46

YANBU if they are going to stand around and make anyone using the food banks feel uncomfortable. If they are going to help (putting parcels together, bagging goods, sorting, stock rotation, etc) then YABU.

I saw a charity ball advertised today, with all proceeds (minus running costs) going to the local food banks. It seemed very odd to me to buy a ticket to a ball where a three course meal would take place to raise funds for families who have very little. I'd sooner help to fund an event the users of food banks could attend.

IMeanReally Wed 04-Feb-15 18:42:52


I'm involved in referring people to our local foodbank. Most of the people I refer are too desperate for food to worry about "being seen." by people visiting.

Is your problem with it really the privacy issue or is it that you don't want your child to see tangible proof that things like foodbanks and people unable to feed themselves exist in your area and what that can mean?

HelenaDove Wed 04-Feb-15 18:43:19

What are the school going to do if a parent or another relative turns up to collect a food parcel and their child/niece/nephew etc gets bullied at school as a result for "being poor"

BathtimeFunkster Wed 04-Feb-15 18:43:53

Oh no, there's something very unpleasant about this.

I'm uncomfortable about the creeping normalisation of food banks in the UK.

Like we should all just expect (and teach our children to expect) food poverty in a rich country with plenty of food and money.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Wed 04-Feb-15 18:44:44

I can see both sides. I think it is a very good idea for pupils to see the work that food banks does, but I think the OP and others make a good point with their concern about the risks that it might be embarrassing or upsetting for the food bank's clients.

YouTheCat Wed 04-Feb-15 18:44:46

The school are probably trying to break the stigma so these kids don't feel ashamed if they have to use a food bank when they are older.

Why should there be any shame attached to being hungry and shafted by the system?

Fugacity Wed 04-Feb-15 18:45:59

I'm sure the Food Bank will protect the privacy of their clients.

This sounds like a very useful school trip. The people who come to a Food Bank have a huge variety of problems, and a learning from Food Bank volunteers is a one stop shop for learning about these in a very humanitarian way - women fleeing abuse, sudden job loss, emergency evacuation of property, etc.

It also shows students that all of us are empowered to help one another, not expect the local council or central government to step in.

We have a food bank at our church and we provide debt advice and pastoral care as well to help people to get out of the need for the food bank. It is a very joined up service.

mumofmanymonsters Wed 04-Feb-15 18:46:05

They all know how poverty works. I just don't like it. It's like when the rich Victorians went to visit slums.

The letter says: 'to visit the food bank, watch parcels being distributed and listen to personal experiences'.

betweenmarchandmay Wed 04-Feb-15 18:46:40

It's clear from * mums* OP that she is concerned about the people at the food bank having to cope with gawping teenagers on top of everything else.

We read enough on here about the demonisation of the poor and how awful it is. So when somebody objects to what isn't demonisation but is certainly thoughtless why jump on them?

If I had to use a food bank I wouldn't want a coach load of kids either!

BathtimeFunkster Wed 04-Feb-15 18:46:56

Most of the people I refer are too desperate for food to worry about "being seen." by people visiting.

Which rather suggests that it is exploitative to take advantage of that desperation to make them into a spectacle for gawping teenagers.

mumofmanymonsters Wed 04-Feb-15 18:47:14

The people who run it have already come into school to speak to them all and they are fundraising for it during Lent. It is very connected to school and I think that's good.

MaryWestmacott Wed 04-Feb-15 18:48:14

Hmm, I can see why they are doing it, but it does smack a bit of "right boys and girls, let's go look at some poor people, shall we!" (Deliver in best "jolly hockeysticks voice!)

I detest using disadvantaged people as a learning exercise for middle class children, alternatively, if the school covers a poorer intake of students, there's a better chance they will see someone they know.

1 or 2 students being sent to help out - fine, 30 is just treating it like a school trip to the zoo. These are real people with problems, not exhibits. hmm

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