Posted on November 22 2017
Thirteen million people live below the poverty line in the UK, with individuals going hungry every day, for a range of reasons from benefit delays to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. This is where food banks come in...
Food banks are organisations that provide emergency food to people in crisis. Donations of non-perishable, in-date food come from churches, schools, local businesses, individuals and supermarket collection boxes. Then a wide range of care professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and police help to identify people in crisis who could need some help. These people are then issued with food.
We believe that there should not be such a huge number of people living in the UK to whom food banks are a lifeline. However, although we wish there would not be a need for food banks in the first place, we are still very grateful for the service they provide! So, let us tell you all about our local food bank, how you can get involved and the reasons why we support these wonderful organisations...
The Exeter Foodbank
The Exeter Foodbank was founded in 2008 by local churches and community groups with the mission of alleviating hunger in the local area. The food bank aims to help local people who have been affected by the financial crisis and subsequent downturn in the economy.
Exeter's food bank centres can be found at the Beacon Community Centre on Beacon Lane and The Mint Methodist Church near us on Fore Street!
5 Reasons Why We Support Foodbanks
1. A simple box of food makes a huge difference
Food banks not only put food on people's plates, but they also have a wider impact. In turn, they help prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems, which could all stem from financial difficulties and a lack of food.
2. Food banks are offering other solutions
Many people criticise food banks for 'feeding the problem'. However, food banks are now widening their support beyond food to help people in crisis break the cycle of poverty in the long-term, not just the short-term. This support includes teaching people how to tackle debt and financial difficulties, how to eat healthily when on a low budget, and CV clinics. Many food banks also offer non-food items such as toiletries and sanitary products.
3. Food banks can be healthy
One of the main myths surrounding food banks is that they are unhealthy. Although food banks cannot provide fresh fruit and vegetables because it is not very practical, they do include a range of food which is nutritionally balanced such as tinned vegetables and tinned fruit.
4. They involve local communities and they reflect a growing capacity in society for compassion
If there's one thing this world needs, it's a little bit of compassion! Food banks bring together volunteers from all walks of life to support a common good.
5. No one should spend Christmas (or any time of year) hungry
The winter months are peppered with opportunities to share meals with friends and family. With holiday meals scheduled well into the New Year, it's truly the season to eat, drink and be merry. Unfortunately, for a huge number of people across the UK, empty cupboards and fridges make the holidays far from festive. Food banks will provide these people with a little bit of happiness this Christmas time!