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Food Banks in a Hungry World

October 21, 2013

Today even developed countries are going hungry because of increasing food prices and decreasing wages in real terms. I have myself experienced hunger because I simply didn’t have enough food to eat and as such this impacted on my mental health. When we don’t eat enough food we feel weak and the body starts to shut down non-essential systems in order to keep us going physically. The catch twenty two here is that when we are running out of nutrients we feel emotionally ‘sluggish’ and thus it impacts on us physically anyway but our body is doing the best it can under extraordinary circumstances. I feel it is at times like this that we have to drop the pride – the obstacle that gets in all of our ways – and reach out for the help that is increasingly there. This help (in Great Britain specifically, please check your local area/country services for something relevant to you) can be found at:

·         Food Banks (Search online for your nearest service and check if you can self-refer to save a wasted journey).

·         Local Authority (who will have an emergency fund, try to apply for this before you completely run out of food. If you already have, see above).

·         Your local community re-distribution centre. There will be a few, especially in cities, who specialise in furniture and white goods BUT many now have added emergency food parcels to their remit (again, check if you can self-refer. Some require you to be on benefits which personally I think is appalling – working people are struggling too, more so in some cases).

·         Your nearest mental health organisation who may (and probably will) have listings of services that distribute food parcels.

·         Your local church or religious organisation.

·         Your local library, especially if the building is also used as a community centre for local organisations.

·         Some areas are now running food share co-operatives where they hold a gathering or even a party and everyone brings something, pops it on the table and you can help yourself to anything. If you are very down on your luck and have nothing at all, the people who run these, I am sure, will not turn you away. The only stumbling block to this one is that they tend to happen organically – word of mouth – so keep your ears open.

·         Search online (your local library and/or community centre will have at least 30mins free internet access) for Food Banks, emergency funding/grants, benefits advice, community groups, religious organisations, co-operatives and anything else you can think of that could keep you fed until the worst has passed. And it will pass.

Take some ideas from my previous post to make sure that you prepare and cook your meals as economically as possible and if you have any other ideas please feel free to share them here. Let’s all pull together and make some food from the hunger that is becoming increasingly apparent in our communities.

A stumbling block that I would like to mention is travelling to your local service and/or Food Bank. I read a report in my local paper about a man who hadn’t eaten for three days walking eight miles to his Food Bank because of course he couldn’t afford the bus fair. He burst into tears as soon as he walked through the door. My heart wrenches with empathy for the guy. To have no food and to feel physically exhausted, knowing that you have to get up and take action is often overwhelming. This guy made it – he got some food from his local Christian Food Bank where the volunteers also held his hand whilst he cried. From such suffering can beauty come.

What if you can’t make the journey at all? Get in touch with your local Red Cross, Alzheimer’s Society, Age Concern, Christian Organisation, Church, Housing Association, Local Authority, Racial Equality Organisation, Afro Caribbean Community Centre, LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered) Charity, Disability Group, Mental Health Group, Soup Kitchen, Crisis Centre – whichever is appropriate to you and whichever provides a ‘Buddying’ service or local transport for free: some do and even if they don’t, they certainly may know someone who does so tell them your situation and be clear about your needs (‘I need someone to pick up a food parcel for me from a Food Bank’ etc). We are, as human beings, interdependent by nature and this is OK.

I hope that helps and I send you a great big HUG!                           

Matt Chase xx

 

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4 Comments
  1. Angela DAponte permalink

    Hi Matt, Just to say thank you for your inspiring writings. Also, I hope the financial stuff gets better soon. There is so much of plenty in our world; it is changing, maybe not as swiftly as we hoped, but meanwhile love to you, courage and continued inspirational heartfelt gratitude from me, the Angels and the like…. Go safely, Angela x

    Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 13:42:50 +0000 To: lucagattini@hotmail.co.uk

  2. Hug returned, Matt! Thanks for creating expanded awareness around this important fact and related opportunities.

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