Food banks and a funeral by Angela Caldin
The Trussell Trust supports a nationwide network of food banks which provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty. It campaigns for change to end the need for food banks in the UK where more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children. There are more than 1,200 food bank centres in the UK providing a minimum of three days’ nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis, as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face.
I find these statistics alarming and even more alarming is the news coming through that more and more people are asking for food that doesn’t need cooking. These are examples of reports from food banks:
‘We get requests from people for food that needs no cooking, either because they don’t have any cooking facilities or money to top up the electricity meter.’
‘We are changing the items we include in our parcels as people do not have the money to use their cookers for long periods of time.’
It seems incredible that this is going on in a supposedly rich country where wealth does not seem to be trickling down or even dripping down, but remains exclusively at the top. It’s a country which saw fit to spend over £10 million on the Queen’s funeral with all its pomp and splendour. That would have given each foodbank about £8,000 to be going on with.
Did we really need all that pageantry and all that marching through the streets with bands playing and soldiers keeping step? There seems to be no doubt that the Queen did a great job, whatever that job was, but wasn’t the funeral over the top, putting a strain on resources, let alone people? I thought Charles looked completely worn out by the end of it all.
You might guess that I’m not a monarchist and I think we’d save a lot of money if we put the royal family out to grass. People ask me what the alternative would be and what kind of presidential arrangement we might end up with. The answer is that I don’t know, but I’m sure we deserve better than a family who have arrived on the throne through an accident of birth.
When the state can spend millions on one funeral while so many can’t afford to cook the food provided to them by a charity, there is something seriously wrong.