So what actually is their purpose?
Is it to supply food for those in need?
Ans: Well yes and no, yes food banks do supply food for those in need, however many have clauses attached to that.
Some of the clauses issued by many food banks (paraphrased).
1. Maximum of 3 days food per person, up to and including 3 times a year (9 days total).
2. Must show ties to local area (Excludes homeless persons)
3. Must work (low income) or be in receipt of Welfare Benefits (Persons who have been sanctioned are often excluded).
4. Not live a complicated lifestyle (This is a very ambiguous term, believed to refer to Alcohol, Drugs or have a history of petty crime).
Now that we have excluded about 75% of persons in need (basically they can go starve), the remaining 25% who are more often than not, low paid workers will be given their 3 days supply of food up to 3 times a year.
Not sounding so good now is it?
It gets worse when you find out who are in fact the largest referrers to the Food banks. Despite claims to the contrary by Government Ministers, it is actually the Local JobCentre Plus, normally just after they have accepted a claim for unemployment benefits or just sanctioned a person (often through no fault of their own) for up to 3 years.
Well those who have just made a claim are lucky, they will get their 3 days of canned food and pasta/rice. That’s assuming they actually have somewhere to cook it, or money for Gas/Electric.
For those that have been sanctioned, well if they happen to live in an area in which the local authorities have control in the food banks, they are excluded from anything from the Foodbanks. With no right to challenge this (despite being referred to the foodbanks as their failsafe by the JCP).
So lets get to the Local Authorities, the replacement for Crisis loans/Grants and the food banks.
“In general, ‘cashless grants’ will be offered instead of Loans/Grants for people in emergency situations. This is likely to mean vouchers for food, fuel, clothing and travel”.
In other words as previously stated up to 9 days food via vouchers any given year (3 days maximum, up to a maximum of 3 times a year). These vouchers/referrals are to the local Foodbanks.
Effectively, most local authorities pay in a pocket change amount of about £25K a year into the food banks to employ a full time manager, who in turn runs the food banks, voluntary staff and decides by central Government rules, who obtains help and when.
To put it simply, peeps are donating in so central Government can create the illusion of helping the poor. There are still some independent food banks, but they are slowly being swallowed into the bigger system, in which they are made to comply to the 3days, 3 times a year rule, no matter how much donations they have been given.
When the larger networks obtain too much food for the demand, it appears that this is being dispersed into the likes of the Global Food Banking Network.
So although it is being supplied to the needy, it is more often than not, the needy in other countries. Including the United States.
To be honest I can’t believe that so many peeps are being silent about what is really happening.
Does Mr or Mrs Tax payer really realise that they are paying their taxes into a system that is filtering off a large chunk of that money to International companies, (ATOS springs to mind) in the claim to be cutting the welfare bill, In reality as we know the money is no longer making its way to the poor. Then along come food banks, (an apparently noble cause) asking Mr or Mrs Tax payer to pay again.
The Tax payer is being stung twice and the poor in this country are still not actually getting any more than 2.5% of their actual need for food.
To be honest I know this article is not going to sit too well with a lot of peeps, but if it gets them asking questions about what is happening, then I am willing to accept some of the flack that is going to come my way over this.
Don’t stop donating on the back of this article, instead contact your local authorities and major food bank organisations to get explanations over what is happening.
Image with courtesy of www.foodbanking.org
Update: I have had it mentioned to me elsewhere, that Global Food Banking networks, that exist to redirect donated food to specified locations around the world ‘do not exist’ or this is just pure fiction on my part, So Here is one such organisation, which redirects donations from multiple sources including, foodbanks excess stock in the UK to other food banks elsewhere in the world http://www.foodbanking.org
An excess which is created in some areas by policy, not need and made all the more unpalatable when in some regions in the UK, food banks are going empty because of increased demand created by the summer holidays. In which kids do not get a free lunch at school.
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