Bring A Tin To Work!

Issue 81

Poverty just doesn't influence one area of a person's life. It affects their whole life; the affects last a lifetime, potentially affecting one generation after another.

It affects all of directly, it affects the economy and our businesses, but our businesses could make a difference!

Over 15 million people are living in deprivation in the UK today, with the cost of living raising daily, unfortunately more people, every day, are unable to meet their basic needs. Access to healthy nutritional meals are basic needs many take for granted. Food poverty has multiple negative impacts on a person’s health and wellbeing.

In April, 7.3 million adults and 2.6 million children suffered from food insecurity. You know those stories about Nurses on minimum wage depending on Food Banks to feed their family, they aren’t a myth. It is the reality we face today but a reality we can change.

At the cold face of the food poverty crisis are the food banks. There are more than 1,400 food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network alone, there are many more independent facilities in every town and city throughout the UK. In May, the Trust seen a usage rise of 81% across their network, for independents the increase was over 100%. I’m ashamed that food banks are a normal presence in the UK today, considering the wealth we host as a country.

Deprived communities depend on these, now, essential services to survive. In Newcastle there are 14 food banks that serve the people who are living in poverty in our city. Local to me is Kenton Food Bank, set up by Loree Moran-Wilson, Founder of Make Your Way CIC. Make Your Way initially provided furniture and support to those in need. On delivery of the furniture, Loree realised that the people she helped didn’t just need furniture but also food and clothing and support beyond the initial re-homing process. Kenton Food Bank has seen their need grow considerably in recent months, currently demand outweighs donations.

The foodbank relies on the community for donations and whilst Kenton, a suburb of Newcastle, hosts some of the wealthiest families in our city, the donations are primarily gifted from the disadvantaged community in the local area. These families are now in need of the food bank themselves, their low incomes inadequate in relation to the cost of living and unfortunately, they are no longer able to donate. Loree created Make Your Way from a place of experience and understanding. The volunteers face their own adversities but everyday they are there, making a difference, helping others, being kind to protect people. It’s a food bank that supports the individual to gain help and support immediately. There can be issues tied up in red tape with food banks unfortunately, but through Make Your Way they can meet the need of the person in the moment.

Since I begun volunteering with the team at Kenton, we’ve been working on building support from local businesses and partnering with other initiatives that help people, recently we supported the I’m Not Ok mental health event; food insecurity plays a major part in mental illness, mental wellbeing, and suicide. It is vital that we keep resources above the levels of demand. Newcastle has an abundance of large businesses and offices; you may be sat in one now. If your office took part in an initiative called ‘Bring a tin Tuesday’ and donated the collection to Kenton Food Bank, you would be ensuring a local family to you could eat that week.

6It’s simple isn’t it! All you need to do is bring a tin to work.

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