I write this blog post with a sense of trepidation. I don’t want to pretend to be something I am not. I have no bleeding heart, I’m not someone who gives to every charity box I come across. I did work in a local charity shop as a volunteer in my teens, but alas it was to complete my Duke of Edinburgh award. I just want to be honest about where I’m coming from I guess.
Caveat over. Here’s what I wanted to write about – did you watch The Great British Budget Menu? There are 3 days left to watch it on iplayer if you didn’t catch it. I’m not going to enter the debate about how good the programme was as I know people have very strong feelings about the chefs not coming in on budget, blowing the budget and treating the family to a side of salmon and indeed making dishes that might be cheap on ingredients but actually cost a lot to make through use of gas/electricity.
Anyway, for me the point was that it made me think. As I sat in my house, not worrying about how to feed my family, it haunted me. Was I the only one left thinking about people living within walking distance of my home who are hungry? So hungry they’re drinking tea instead of eating, just so their children can eat? I know I’m not the only person who slept badly that night.
So on Saturday morning I gave the boys a bag each and we cleared out our cupboards with a view to giving the food to a local food bank. We managed to fill 3 carrier bags with food that was in date and that frankly we won’t miss. How often have I thrown food away that’s out of date? It’s sickening isn’t it. I have no excuses. We took the bags to our local church and placed them in a marked box in the entrance and then we went home and I started to feel something rising in my stomach. Anger? Rabid motivation? Something.
Direct debits to charity can feel like a huge commitment. Buying extra food and putting it into a bin at the end of the checkout can feel like a weekly budget stretch too far. But clearing out your cupboards? It’s easy, it’s immediate, it’s a way of diverting potential waste if you’re a bit of a cupboard hoarder. For me it’s a lazy way to help, which means people might just do it. (Clearly that’s not to say that direct cash donations and cans donated at the till side aren’t welcome.) But, any help is welcome, even the lazy variety. Can you spare anything from your cupboard? Don’t forget it MUST be in date – the charities can’t distribute out of date food and being given anything that’s out of date just gives them a headache in terms of disposing of it. #clearouthunger
But where do you take it? I’m afraid I don’t have a one size fits all answer. I do have a collection of resources you can scour to find your nearest place to donate. It might take 10 – 15 minutes of your time to search. It’s not a huge investment of time.
- First up check out your local church, even if you’re not religious – this isn’t about beliefs other than wanting to help. They often have a box in the entrance area.
- Have a look in your supermarket if that’s where you buy your food from. Do it before your shop – and if they don’t have a box for food donations ask at the customer service desk. If enough people ask then they will start to provide them in every store.
- Ask your local pals on facebook and twitter, you might be surprised who’s already in the know.
- Sounds obvious but use google – literally type in the name of the place you live and ‘food banks donate’ and see what comes up.
- The Trussell Trust - they are a Christian organisation but arrange to distribute food to people of any belief
- The Guardian have crowd sourced a map
I haven’t included individual locations as I thought trailing through all the info might be arduous for people. Feel free to comment with details of your local scheme if you like though. I hope you can find the time and spare the food to clear out your cupboards. #clearouthunger
P.S. If you want to know more about the UK hunger problem from the horse’s mouth so to speak then check out this blog.