Monday, 21 April 2014

Christian Charity is.......Charitable....

You'd never catch me dirtying my hands by reading the Mail, and I don't just mean from the newspaper print. However, I follow a lot of people on Twitter who apparently do read it and took to tweeting vehemently against an article they published yesterday on Easter Sunday.

They basically congratulated themselves for sending in an undercover reporter to claim food, from a food bank. STOP PRESS ***CHRISTIAN CHARITY IS........CHARITABLE***

The said reporter got "3 days of questions asked" and after filling out a couple of forms was "asked a series of questions about why the food bank vouchers were needed." 

Of course none of us are naive enough to think food banks aren't open to misuse, but it is not on the same scale as claiming disability benefit or unemployment benefit fraudulently, we all have to pay into those benefits via our taxes, so when they are abused we feel we personally have been cheated.  And defrauding those systems results in cold hard moolah, far more appealing than a Fray Bentos pie.

The food banks are run purely on donations from the public, without those donations they simply wouldn't exist, the people who find themselves having to use them will usually have exhausted all other possibilities before walking into a church clutching a voucher, to leave with 3 days worth of preserved goods.

I imagine it was fairly easy for the Mail On Sunday reporter to rock up to the the Citizens Advice Bureau and lie his way into gaining a voucher. 

Now imagine you are a father and husband, you've always provided for your family but now you have lost your job and are struggling to find employment again. Friends and family have been helping you out, sometimes you've asked for it, other times they've just slipped a few notes into your hand to keep you going. Your self esteem has gone through the floor and embarrassment levels are sky high. Your child comes home with a note that requires money for a school trip, the car tax is due and you need to buy food, you have the grand total of £7.64 in your wallet.

The school might help out but you worry about whether it will affect your child if anyone finds out. You avoid taxing the car and hope you can get away with it for another month. You can probably just about buy food for your family for today with that £7.64 and hope that things will change tomorrow. You don't want to stretch out your hand to your own parents for another handout.

Things have been like this for some time now and this is when you arrive at the food bank. Not proud that you've somehow cheated the system and will be claiming your pot noodles for free, but feeling ashamed and embarrassed that somehow it is your fault that you have ended up not being able to feed yourself and your family.

Yes, some people are claiming more than they are entitled to by returning more than the recommended times but who does this affect? The Mail reporter hasn't been obliged to donate from stoppages from his wages, if they don't agree with it, don't donate; it really is that simple.

It is not gourmet food people are claiming, lets be clear here, it is the cheap end of the non-perishable grocery market. It is usually the supermarket's own low end brand of tinned fruit and vegetables, or packet pasta meals. If you are returning to claim this time and again then I would suggest you are a person of need, and that is exactly who the food banks are for, the needy.

And as a big two fingered salute to the Mail On Sunday, the British public response to the article was to donate more! 

Go to Just Giving Crack UK Hunger If you would like to donate to the Trussell Trust to help fight UK hunger. Or maybe think about volunteering at your local food bank.