Food banks
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Poverty: 50 ways to close a food bank

As food banks struggle to cope with rising demand, they - and politicians - could learn valuable lessons from volunteers in Canada about the precarious nature of charity food provision.

Via Cathryn Wellner
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Cathryn Wellner's curator insight, May 29, 2013 12:32 PM

From temporary to entrenched institution - and it is time to reverse that. But it will require social policy that actually extends social justice to everyone, not just the wealthiest.

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London food poverty fears grow

London food poverty fears grow | Food banks | Scoop.it
Increasing number of Londoners unable to afford or access healthy food amid squeeze on benefits and soaring living costs
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Food bank Britain: A former businessman warns that food poverty can happen to anyone

Food bank Britain: A former businessman warns that food poverty can happen to anyone | Food banks | Scoop.it
Glen White once sported designer suits but now warns that food poverty can happen to anyone (Food bank Britain: 'I once wore Gucci and Armani and now I've got nothing' says former businessman http://t.co/zvF1m8Qyyl...

Via Christine Szalay-Kudra
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Christine Szalay-Kudra's curator insight, June 7, 2013 7:23 AM

This is an interesting read. People have a lot of preconceptions about food banks and the kind of people who use them, assuming such people must be too lazy or have another issue, whereas much of the time it is down to nothing more than plain bad luck.

 

The former businessman in this article went through a tough divorce and then his business failed. After all that, he fractured his skull and was unable to work. The man was awarded 61 pounds sterling (about $93) a week welfare but was refused his last payment because he turned up 5 minutes late to collect it!

 

It is important to remember nobody wants to have to rely on food banks, nobody chooses to have empty cupboards or no money with which to buy food. The gentleman in this article was hardworking and just happened to experience a series of setbacks through no fault of his own.

 

Disaster can strike anyone at any time, so it is important to understand some people need help not because they are lazy or greedy, but because they have had some bad luck and would like nothing more than to get back on their feet and not have to use food banks. Never look down on these people because it could be you next week. Food bank users want to salvage their pride, not beg for food, but the food banks are a godsend because they make the difference between these people having something to feed their families and going without any food at all.

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Tory MP: Food poverty is growing, food banks are not the answer

Tory MP: Food poverty is growing, food banks are not the answer | Food banks | Scoop.it
Laura Sandys says the government needs to tackle supermarket dominance and get a grip on food policy if it is to address the UK's food crisis Food banks are not the answer to food poverty, the supermarket-dominated UK food system is not fit for...
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Nobody should go hungry in the UK - call for action

Nobody should go hungry in the UK - call for action | Food banks | Scoop.it
Over half a million people are now dependent on emergency food aid in the UK. Even worse, the single biggest cause of food poverty is the benefits system. Unjust benefit sanctions leave families with nothing to eat for weeks or months.

Via Darcy Delaproser
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Asda to give all surplus food to charity in bid to relieve food poverty

Asda to give all surplus food to charity in bid to relieve food poverty | Food banks | Scoop.it
One of Britain’s biggest supermarkets has resolved to donate all its surplus stock to charity.

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Councillor in attack on food bank

Councillor in attack on food bank | Food banks | Scoop.it
A SENIOR York politician has sparked a furious row by saying there is no real poverty in Britain and people should not donate to food banks.

Via Peter A Bell
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Peter A Bell's curator insight, January 3, 2013 10:50 AM

Bloated Tory tosser denies absolute poverty in UK and seems to find relative poverty perfectly acceptable.

morag branson's comment, January 3, 2013 11:19 AM
He's not "poorly informed", he's arrogant and ignorant.
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UK Shame | Number of people turning to food banks triples in a year to 350k

UK Shame | Number of people turning to food banks triples in a year to 350k | Food banks | Scoop.it
Number of people turning to food banks triples in a year   Patrick Butler, social policy editor
    The Guardian, Wednesday 24 April 2013
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Charity says up to 650 more food banks are needed across UK to cope with surging demand
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More than 350,000 people turned to food banks for help last year, almost triple the number who received food aid in the previous year and 100,000 more than anticipated, according to the UK's biggest food crisis charity.

The Trussell Trust said the dramatic increase in the use of its food banks was set to continue in the coming months as poorer families struggle financially as a result of the government's welfare reforms.

The Trussell Trust executive chairman, Chris Mould, said: "The sheer volume of people who are turning to food banks because they can't afford food is a wake-up call to the nation that we cannot ignore the hunger on our doorstep."

He added: "Politicians across the political spectrum urgently need to recognise the real extent of UK food poverty and create fresh policies that better address its underlying causes. This is more important than ever as the impact of the biggest reforms to the welfare state since it began start to take effect.

"Since 1 April we have already seen increasing numbers of people in crisis being sent to food banks with nowhere else to go."

Although it has established 345 food banks, the trust says there is insufficient capacity nationally and that between 400 and 650 more food banks are needed to cope with expected demand. It is opening new projects at the rate of three a week, but says geographical gaps in coverage mean "thousands of people are facing hunger today in towns with no food banks".

The rise in the numbers of people using Trussell-Trust-backed food banks in part reflects a 76% increase in the number of food banks set up over the past year. But the trust said it had seen a 170% increase in the number of people given food boxes over the same period.

Nearly a third of food parcel recipients had been referred to the trust because their social security benefits had been delayed. A further 15% came as a result of their benefits being cut or stopped (up from 11% in 2011-12). The trust said the majority of people turning to food banks were working-age families.

Mould said: "We're seeing people from all kinds of backgrounds turning to food banks: working people coming in on their lunch-breaks, mums who are going hungry to feed their children, people whose benefits have been delayed and people who are struggling to find enough work."

Trussell food boxes contain three days' supply of non-perishable foods such as tinned fruit, vegetables, meat and fish as well as pasta, cereal, UHT milk, sauces, tea, and long-life juice. Recipients must be referred by care professionals such as social workers or police officers, and are limited to three vouchers a year.

Mary Creagh, the shadow environment secretary, said: "The UK is the seventh richest country in the world yet we face a growing epidemic of hidden hunger with people increasingly unable to meet their family's basic needs. This incompetent government needs to wake up the human cost of their failed economic policies and change course now."

Although the Trussell figures are one of the most robust indicators of the prevalence of food poverty, they represent just a fraction of the growth in emergency food aid in the UK, much of it small-scale and ad hoc, and run through local churches, community groups and housing associations.

The Salvation Army, which also provides emergency food parcels, said many of its local branches ran informal food banks, but it did not collect statistics on a national basis. Anecdotally, it said several of its local branches – known as "corps" – had witnessed an increase in the number of requests for food parcels.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said the rise in numbers of people using food banks was partly explained by the decision of jobcentres to refer some clients to food banks, and partly a reflection of the success of Trussell's own "marketing activity".

He said: "The government already provides a safety net for essentials like food and housing through the benefits system and claimants can also request a benefit advance or help from their local authority where needed."

However, local authorities have complained that jobcentres are refusing to issue short-term benefit loans to penniless claimants. Many councils have also entered into agreements to refer recipients of local crisis support to food banks following the abolition of the social fund.

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Plea for food aid as child poverty soars in Bradford

Plea for food aid as child poverty soars in Bradford | Food banks | Scoop.it
A charity helping to feed poverty-stricken families is making a desperate appeal for food donations as it is revealed that more than 37,000 youngsters in Bradford are now living below the
breadline.

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Half a million rely on UK food banks

More than half a million people in the UK are relying on food banks to save themselves from going hungry, according to anti-poverty campaigners. The number c...

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Danny Alexander's mother setsup a food bank...to help the victims of Tory/Lib Dem cuts

Danny Alexander's mother setsup a food bank...to help the victims of Tory/Lib Dem cuts | Food banks | Scoop.it

THE mother of a senior coalition Minister has taken it upon herself to limit the worst impact of Government cuts by setting up a food bank in her community.

 

Jane Alexander, mother of Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Liberal Democrat MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey Danny Alexander, is leading plans to establish a food bank in Aviemore, Inverness-shire.

 

The food bank network, run by the Trussell Trust, already serves more than 3,500 people a year in the Highlands from a base in Inverness.

The news comes after figures released by Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty show a surge in the number of people forced to turn to food banks.

 

The disclosure will be an embarrassment to Mr Alexander, whose key position at the Treasury means he is a vital part of forcing through Westminster’s austerity regime, which has been blamed for the hunger crisis. The Government has capped total welfare payments, increased sanctions for people not trying hard enough to find work and has enacted the ‘bedroom tax’, which cuts the benefit payments of council tenants with spare rooms.

 

The Scottish Mail on Sunday understands Mrs Alexander also took part in an anti-bedroom tax protest in Glasgow’s George Square in March, despite her son being at the forefront of efforts to force through the measure.

 

Charities say the soaring levels of hunger are partly due to Government cuts, and called on the Government to monitor food poverty more closely.

They estimate more than half a million people a year now turn to food banks, which provide staple fare such as rice, pasta, soup, tinned vegetables, tuna, potatoes and oatcakes.

 

The Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty report described the rise in food poverty as ‘a national disgrace’ that ‘undermines’ the UK’s commitment to human rights, as it is leaving so many citizens without food.

Yesterday, SNP welfare spokesman Jamie Hepburn said: ‘Even the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’s mother recognises the pain and suffering caused by the Westminster system’s policies.

 

‘It is not acceptable to continue with these draconian cuts when they are pushing families into poverty and hardship.’

 

He added: ‘Food banks do a vital service but it is unforgivable that this is the state the UK is in. Half a million people being forced to queue up for food donations as a result of the Westminster system’s draconian austerity measures is nothing short of sickening.’

 

Mrs Alexander is helping to plan the Aviemore food bank and has been a regular volunteer at the Aviemore Community Cafe, which opened in 2011, where she cooks soup once a week for visitors for £1 a cup.

 

Lorna Dempster, co-ordinator of the Highland Food Bank, said: ‘ Jane Alexander is working to set up a distribution point in the Aviemore area.’

Last week, the Treasury announced that Mr Alexander and Chancellor George Osborne will chair a public expenditure panel which will persuade Ministers to make even deeper cuts to their departments ahead of Westminster’s spending review this month.

 

The two Ministers are aiming to force through a further £11.5 billion in cuts to department budgets before the next Parliament, of which only £2.5 billion has so far been found.

Mrs Alexander and a spokesman for the Liberal Democrats declined to comment. 


Via Jeff Duncan
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