I was asked to give some carrier bags to the local food bank today. I’m very bad at remembering to take bags with me when I go shopping and I didn’t want to throw them away to go in landfill.
I handed them over to a friend outside the local supermarket. She had started a couple of years ago getting almost out of date, unsold food, and dry goods. But as austerity had increased and now the devastating effect of covid 19,she has found herself getting food for people seven days a week! She is a volunteer and decided she must do something as the local Councillor is not at all helpful.
I asked her how she copes, she’s been ill recently, she says she just has to. She cannot give up on people.
I wish I had her commitment. All I did was hand over a few carrier bags. I have to ask why people are in this situation. How have we got to this. The sixth wealthiest country in the world? But cruel to people in poverty. Who are seen as useless and not worth the money. Another Councillor has called people from my city ‘peasants’ this week. Remind me to tug my forelock!
Warm wine with herbs and sugar. I don’t know what the herbs are as I usually buy a bottle of one that already has things in it. Heat it up in a pan and drink, possibly with mince pies or Christmas cake…
It’s the time of year for indulgence if you can afford it. But many can’t. I’ve visited people in my job who had potatoes and beans for Christmas lunch.
I think about sharing at Christmas, about a bit more kindness, about a lot less austerity. The human race does not like sharing, when greed is good poverty follows. People need to think more about others. I am odd I know…..
Last night it was minus 6°C in parts of the United Kingdom. There are homeless people living out there in this country, huddled in doorways, or visiting foodbanks. People are buying sleeping bags and hot water bottles to use when it’s cold (for children too) rather than put their heating on.
It’s all become normal in these days of austerity. People are working in the gig economy and are so low paid, or get so few hours work, that they have to claim benefits, and yet the take up of benefits is lower than ever.
What to do? How can things be like this? I’m scared it will only get worse. I heard a homeless man froze to death in car park last night. I could understand if it was a polar explorer, but not a man in a town or city centre. This has to be wrong.
A film came out a couple of years ago called “I Daniel Blake”. It’s about a man who has had a serious heart attack and who is trying to get a sickness allowance because he is too ill to work. But because the state now seems determined to persecute those who need benefits he is constantly stopped from getting what he needs. He ends up in an impossible position where he is fighting the system. He meets various other people with similar problems. It is a sad reflection on todays society that people are allowed to get into this situation. In one scene he and a young single mother he befriends have to visit a food bank to survive. The young woman starts eating food from a can because she hasn’t eaten for days. The film takes a close look into poverty and deprivation in Britain today. I think it’s important that films like this are available so that people see the reality of the system today.