Last Thursday was the UK general election, an election called because of the parlimentary disaster that is Brexit. I’ll proudly state that I voted to remain in the EU and, in my opinion, a referendum should not have been called until the government had a definite plan of how to approach an exit, if that was the result.
I wrote a while ago about the idea of a reverse advent calendar where each day of advent you add an item to a box to be delivered to a foodbank on Christmas eve. The practicalities of this aren’t as simple as our local foodbank only accepts donations on certain days, also donating on Christmas eve means that your items won’t actually be distributed for Christmas. With this in mind I decided I’d do a big foodbank shop after voting on Thursday.
There are 2,000 food banks in the UK, the supply of food parcels has risen by 73% in the UK over the past five years and 1 in 50 households used a foodbank in 2018-19 financial year.
Half of all households receiving food parcels include someone with a disability.
In 2018-19 the Trussell Trust supplied 1,583,668 three-day emergency food parcels, an increase of 18.8% on the previous year. Around a third of these – more than half a million – went to children.
The figures released by the Trussell Trust only account for 60% of the total food banks in the UK, as they manage 1,200 food banks in the UK – 800 are managed independently.
In a developed country like the UK, there should not be such levels of poverty. I’m not in a position to debate for or against a welfare state other than to say people do not choose poverty, and they do not choose disability.
With this in mind my charity focus for 2020 will be The Trussell Trust who manage the foodbank local to me. I don’t know whether my support will be through fundraising, promotion of the charity and encouragement for others to donate, volunteering, or simply doing a foodbank shop once a month. But I do know that this is a charity that deserves support.