Thursday, October 17, 2013

Banking on charity food

Did you know: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is celebrated every Oct. 17 while Oct 16 was World Food Day.

The number of people resorting to food banks for emergency help to feed their families has more than tripled following the squeeze on benefits which intensified in April. The Trussell Trust, the country’s biggest food bank operator, said it distributed food to 355,985 people, including nearly 120,000 children, between April and September compared with 113,264 during the same period in 2012. It handed out food to more people during those six months than in the whole of 2012. The Government said it was not surprising that more people were using food banks because there were now twice as many of them as there were last year. Explains it all!

It released the figures days after the Red Cross announced it planned to distribute food aid to the needy in Britain this winter for the first time since the Second World War. The charity is gearing up to provide food for 500,000 starving Britons this winter.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s general secretary, said: “These new figures show that despite trying desperately hard to make ends meet, hundreds of thousands of people still can’t afford to put food on the table for their families. Welfare reforms like the bedroom tax have pushed more households into food poverty.”

Chris Johnes, Oxfam’s UK poverty programme director, said: “These figures lay bare the shocking scale of destitution, hardship and hunger in the UK. It is completely unacceptable that in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet, the number of people turning to food banks has tripled.”

And for those “fortunate” to be in work real pay has been falling for the past five years and the average weekly wage is now, according to the Resolution Foundation, at its lowest level for a decade.  With inflation running at 2.7%, that means real incomes are two percentage points lower than they were a year ago. In the public sector, life is even grimmer. There, the government's pay freeze means earnings are falling in cash terms.

“What I call poverty is when people are not able to secure for themselves all the benefits of civilisation; the necessaries, comforts, pleasures and refinements of life, leisure, books, theatres, pictures, music, holidays, travel, good and beautiful homes, good clothes, good and pleasant food.” The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist

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