Dear readers its Thursday again, alas the days appear to be merging into one for me as I’m sure that they are for many of you.
Today finds me exhausted, Long Covid does this to you so I’m trying to pace myself, giving myself little goals to achieve in between rest times. Some days you feel like you’ve got more energy than the others and its hard not to overdo it.
I’ve taken advice from friends and I am trying to cope with it the best that I can.
Lets talk about food poverty.
Lets be straight, food poverty has always existed, its not a new thing and its always been terrible. It was unacceptable then and it is now. We’re the 5th richest economy and people are hungry.
Call me old fashioned, but I’m of the belief that no one should be hungry, no child should be hungry and no one should be malnourished. It’s a subject that many won’t talk about and those of us that do are sometimes ridiculed.
Since the Tory government were elected the first time back in 2010, they made it their priority to make the poor and disabled suffer. Their benefit reforms and the introduction of Universal Credit has plunged thousands of people into poverty and extreme poverty.
Basically they set off to destroy the working class, and I’m sure that you all know this.
People have been hungry for a long time.
Then Covid 19 hit us, thousands of people have died, thousands have lost their jobs, lost their homes and the government doesn’t care. Hell, the government didn’t even want to take action to prevent people from catching Covid 19 and their inaction has caused the deaths of thousands more.
Hunger and Covid 19.
As I type this we now have a country with more people living in food poverty than we have ever had in the uk in modern times.
It is predicted that UK destitution rates will double by christmas as Covid 19 job furlough schemes and income support schemes are wound down. You can imagine how angry I was to hear Johnson talk about wanting people to celebrate Christmas when thousands upon thousands of people won’t be able to do so.
It’s also predicted by the Trussell Trust that at least 670,000 people will become destitute in the last three months of the year. Basically if the government withdraws their Covid 19 support schemes these people will be unable to meet basic food, shelter and clothing needs.
If you add these figures on top of the already enormous poverty figures its totally obscene that the government can just sit back and do nothing whilst rubbing our noses in their push for Christmas.
Lets get it straight, thousands of people wont be able to celebrate christmas unless the government takes us out of the poverty that we are living.
Food poverty isn’t going to go away.
We’ve got hungry people stealing to feed themselves only to be prosecuted for doing so. Many were fined or sent to prison for being hungry…. Much like Victorian times. Lets punish the poor and ignore their desperation to find food because they’re hungry.
It should be a crime to cause the hunger and poverty of others.
Parents are going without food to enable their children to eat. They then end up being malnourished and ill.
It’s ok for people to say that these people should ‘just go to a foodbank’. Many foodbanks have now returned back to the three parcels a year system, kudos to those foodbanks that aren’t doing that.
Not everyone is aware of all of who and where their local foodbanks are. When you haven’t got access to the internet, have no credit for their phones and aren’t able to go out because their either shielding or recovering from Covid 19.
Foodbank food isn’t always the healthiest also. They’re filled with emergency items of food that require little preparation.
Fuel and food poverty is an awful reality for so many people.
This leaves the independent foodbanks within local communities to pick up the pieces, to try and find the people that are going without and to give them the help that they are needing.
Because they have more independence and don’t just open once or twice a week they can offer fruit and veg. They try their best to individually cater for everyone.
You cant imagine how wonderful it is to eat a piece of fruit or vegetable after a long time of not doing so. It’s heavenly.
It’s far from easy though. Independent foodbanks aren’t funded by anyone. They often don’t have a permanent place to operate from and are shunned by other organisations because they won’t buy into the same schemes like the larger food bank organisations do. They want to remain independent to give them the freedom to help exactly who they want to without judgement.
Believe me, there’s nothing as humiliating as asking for food from someone else. No one should not be judged for this.
The safety net has been taken away.
So what’s the solution?
There isn’t a fix all solution sadly, but I cant just sit back and see so many people suffering like this. It’s totally unprecedented and could all be prevented if the government actually cared.
When a person is hungry it affects their body as a whole, its an awful feeling and sadly its one that I’m familiar with, and that makes fighting back harder.
What can we do?
For those that can please email and visit your local MPs and communicate your worries about this.
If you can and have access to the internet, share posts and blogs like mine, share newspaper articles and if you are able start having these conversations with people.
If you aren’t shielding or recovering from Covid 19, talk to your neighbours if you can, make sure that they’re ok in a way that you know best to do.
What about foodbanks and food donations?
We need to put more pressure upon the supermarkets to freely donate their food to foodbanks instead of asking people to buy it and then donate.
Supermarkets are seeing this as an opportunity to profit from this and it needs to end.
Foodbanks depend upon these donations and if no one has any money then no one can donate.
The supermarkets can easily afford to donate this food themselves and I believe that they should.
Donate to your local independent foodbank.
They receive no help financially from anyone. Often local authorities shun them because they want to remain in independent.
They should be helped not shunned because they provide valuable help on a voluntary basis. They’ve saved life’s.
If you cant find or donate to your local independent foodbank then you can give food directly to someone thats suffering.
You can find a full list of independent food banks over at foodaidnetwork.org.uk or follow @IFAN_UK over on Twitter.
Put pressure on the government and MPs.
Universal credit, ESA, Pip are incredibly hard to survive on. People are still being sanctioned and payments barely cover the basic expenses of staying alive. They plunge people even deeper into poverty, hunger and homelessness.
We need to continue to campaign against this and fight for a fair and decent social security system that helps everyone.
The government will refuse to do this, I’m well aware of that but we can still continue to put pressure on them for higher payments and stop the government withdrawing the extra £20 a week that they’re paying to claimants.
We need to support each other.
Being a friendly face and saying hello to a stranger can really make a big difference to someone else’s day.
Don’t underestimate how wonderful you are.
Support independent blogs and newspapers.
Bloggers like myself don’t receive any payment from anyone, we remain independent and we also like to help others via our writing and campaigns.
It’s a huge struggle for us, and we often go without but we won’t stop what we are doing.
Keep sharing our posts, tweets and Facebook posts.
I hope to publish more than one blog post a week.
Support independent press and newspapers.
There are some really good left wing independent news organisations out there such as the Byline Times and The Meator over at bylinetimes.com and http://www.themeteor.org
Both are independent and unbiased.
Of course I won’t ever recommend any right wing publications.
Support campaign groups and individuals.
Support campaign groups such as DPAC and Black Triangle and my own.
We work so hard to help others and we can and have made a difference to people’s life’s.
Read my friend Raymond Woolfords book Food Bank Britain and his campaign.
It’s an excellent insight into how food banks operate etc.
Please follow him over on Twitter at @Raywoolford
Thank you so much for reading my blog. I appreciate that its not perfect and this blog is a tad long, but I’m still battling long covid and its been a struggle to say the least.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports my blog and campaign, Ive got no intention to stop anytime soon!
A huge thank you to everyone that has helped me to get through my Covid 19 battle. I can’t wait to be well again!
I’m not funded by anyone for the work that I do. If anyone would like to donate there is a donate button at the top and side of this blog. My paypal add is firstname.lastname@example.org