A central part of Christmas is the food – mince pies, turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and roast potatoes. But it is easy to forget that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to experience that at this time of year.
In the last year, the Trussell Trust gave 1,332,952 emergency 3 day food packages to people in crisis. Futhermore, figures published by UK Poverty in 2017 found that 14 million people in the UK were living in conditions of poverty.
On Wednesday 7th November 2018, End Hunger UK delivered a petition to Downing Street, asking for a reform of the current Universal Credit benefit, which has been linked to the increasing use of emergency food supplies since last year.
Since then, MP’s have been visiting food banks all over the country, acknowledging the sadly essential work they do ensuring people who do not have the means can live and eat. Whatever you think about this campaign and the implications it has, it cannot be denied that there are people that depend on the services these foodbanks provide.
As students, many of us do not have a large disposable income. However, I think that especially at this time of year, it is important to help wherever we can. So next time you are in the supermarket, perhaps you can afford to pick up an extra tin, or packet of pasta and donate it to a cause that is desperately essential.
Many of the supermarkets in Durham are currently advertising this very service, allowing you to buy an extra item and donate it in store, meaning you don’t have to go out of your way to help.
If you did want to be more actively involved, the SCA runs a project called Beyond Food that has food donation bins all over the university including in the Palatine Centre and at a number of colleges (St. Marys, Grey, Collingwood, Van Mildert, Aidan’s, Ustinov, St. John’s and St. Cuthberts). They also have weekly sessions to sort the food to send to the food banks, so even you cannot afford to donate, you can still help. If you did want to be more involved with them, their email is firstname.lastname@example.org and they also have an Instagram page – @beyondfoodsca
Some of the non-perishable items food banks are looking for are listed below, but you should check with your local foodbank to see what they specifically are looking for.
- Tinned potatoes
- Pasta sauce
- UHT/Powdered milk
For a more extensive list of items that Durham foodbank desperately want, this is a helpful link: https://durham.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food/
A lot of the time, the foodbank debate can become intensely political and whilst this can be important, it makes it easy to forget the lives of the people this service assists. So whatever your views on foodbanks or the Government, we should all be doing what we can, when we can to help those that need it.
More information about the work foodbanks do, and the supplies they need can be found at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/