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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > General Talk > UK Food Bank collections
UK Food Bank collections  [message #68160] Sat, 30 November 2013 13:26 Go to next message
NW is currently offline  NW   United Kingdom

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Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1528



Normally, Tesco's is somewhere I try to avoid. But over this weekend, they're acting as collection centres for a massive drive to collect food for those reliant on food banks, and who would be unable to eat at Christmas without help.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/29/uk-biggest-fo od-drive-second-world-war-poverty-welfare

"The reality of the UK's cost of living crisis has come under the spotlight this weekend as Britain embarks on its biggest charity food drive since the second world war, with the aim of collecting tonnes of groceries to give to hungry and penniless families over Christmas.

The effort involves the British Red Cross (BRC) the first time the charity has been engaged in mass food aid collection in the UK since 1945 working alongside the Neighbourhood Food Collection, which has been set up by the Trussell Trust food bank network, the food aid distribution charity Fare Share and Tesco.

Each of Tesco's 2,500-plus UK stores is asking customers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to buy extra food essentials such as pasta, rice and cereal to give to the charities.
"

I'll be popping a bit into the collection area - as so many of those in poverty tend to be a risk of having no gas or electricity for cooking, I'll be sure to put in things that can be eaten without cooking: cans of baked beans and suchlike.

If anyone else happens to pass a Tesco over the weekend, popping in for a couple of minutes could make a real difference to some of the worst-off in the UK. Thanks.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: UK Food Bank collections  [message #68161 is a reply to message #68160] Sat, 30 November 2013 14:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma   United Kingdom

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"NW wrote on Sat, 30 November 2013 13:26"

Each of Tesco's 2,500-plus UK stores is asking customers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to buy extra food essentials such as pasta, rice and cereal to give to the charities."



--

While I think that the overall aim of contributing to food banks is a great thing and I'd be happy to contribute food to one, this particular scheme appears to me to be a cynical ploy by Tesco to increase their own sales. They clearly expect (or at least hope) that most of the donated food will be purchased in the store where the donation is made.  At the very least they expect people to shop at the store who perhaps wouldn't normally use Tesco. One indication of this is the section I quote above.

The way they set this up seems to be great for them. What little it might cost them to organise this will be more than offset by extra sales and they also get lots of free extra publicity. If they were genuinely caring they'd also pledge to donate to charity any additional income from increased sales over that period and just be satisfied with their free publicity. So personally, if I used the Tesco scheme to donate food I'd make sure I bought it elsewhere and then took it to the Tesco drop-off site.
Re: UK Food Bank collections  [message #68162 is a reply to message #68161] Sat, 30 November 2013 17:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW   United Kingdom

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At least some Tesco stores (I'm not sure if it's national) will be adding 1/3rd of the value of the food collected as an on-top donation. I agree, that probably only makes it cost-neutral for them ... but much as I dislike Tesco I'm more interested in stopping people starving on the streets this winter.

I've not had to use a food bank myself (though it was touch-and-go at one point a couple of years ago) but I have helped people collect food from food banks: even food for two people for three days is too much for one person to easily carry, especially if they're unwell. Having to survive on charity (even limited to three days at a time, three times a year, as most food banks are) because of SNAFU's in our alleged Welfare system, is soul-destroying, but better than starvation.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: UK Food Bank collections  [message #68163 is a reply to message #68162] Sat, 30 November 2013 18:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma   United Kingdom

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"NW wrote on Sat, 30 November 2013 17:14"
At least some Tesco stores (I'm not sure if it's national) will be adding 1/3rd of the value of the food collected as an on-top donation. I agree, that probably only makes it cost-neutral for them ... but much as I dislike Tesco I'm more interested in stopping people starving on the streets this winter.


--

Maybe I slightly misjudged Tesco, then.  I'd probably use the Tesco food bank donation system if it turned out that they did add a third.
As to the other comments, I completely agree.
It's scandalous that a developed country like ours allows people to suffer prolonged hunger or even starvation. It's even more scandalous when we have a government that uses welfare to excuse taxing such a large proportion of our income and then expects people to survive on the charity of others.
Re: UK Food Bank collections  [message #68164 is a reply to message #68162] Sun, 01 December 2013 08:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
dgt224 is currently offline  dgt224   United States

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Location: USA
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"NW wrote on Sat, 30 November 2013 12:14"
At least some Tesco stores (I'm not sure if it's national) will be adding 1/3rd of the value of the food collected as an on-top donation. I agree, that probably only makes it cost-neutral for them ... .


--
I don't know how grocery stores in the UK operate, but here in the United States the typical grocery store operates with a 1-1.5% profit margin. Much larger markups over their wholesale costs, of course, but their retail prices have to pay for salaries, power, heat, spoilage and other losses, and so on. Even if they only add 1/3 of the wholesale cost of the food collected ("1/3rd of the value" is a conveniently ambiguous description), it's going to be a lot more than their profits on whatever part of the food collected they sold in the first place.

I suspect that the 1/3 figure was selected because that is close to their markup over wholesale on the sort of staples most likely to be donated to a food bank, and they will be absorbing all the fixed costs associated with those sales, such as stocking the shelves and running the cash registers. To my mind that sounds reasonably generous. Not dazzlingly so, but it doesn't begin to compare to the WalMart over here that's running a food bank to provide for their employees who can't afford to feed themselves over the winter holidays. From everything I've read it doesn't appear that the store is actually contributing anything other than space for collection of donations. Makes Tesco seem a shining light of charity by comparison.
Re: UK Food Bank collections  [message #68171 is a reply to message #68164] Mon, 02 December 2013 17:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Smokr is currently offline  Smokr   United States

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Nice work Tesco. More than anything I know of going on over here. Though the local Kiwanis has been actively requesting donations since before Halloween.
I hope they do well, I may have to sign up for assistance myself. Things are just awful over here for work where I live. I wish I hadn't left the Chicago area now.



raysstories.com
Re: UK Food Bank collections  [message #68172 is a reply to message #68160] Mon, 02 December 2013 18:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
solsticeman is currently offline  solsticeman   United Kingdom

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Smokr's comment reminds us.

Conservative tax-reduction doesn't help those who aren't lucky enough to be paying tax
Reading Nick's continuing commentary ...   [message #68179 is a reply to message #68160] Wed, 11 December 2013 04:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Gay Deceiver is currently offline  The Gay Deceiver   

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... posted to my Wall at Facebook about the alarming situation surrounding food-shortages and the Food Banks in the United Kingdom, and refreshing my mind over the comments of others here, I thought I should add a couple of words of my own.

Canada thirty-years ago, or thereabouts, established a National Food Bank agency which coördinates the combined resources, funding and food-drives of it's member provincial agencies, the two largest of which being The Daily Bread and Second Harvest.  These agencies collect and distribute food to the local community-based, and largely volunteer-run, organizations such as that of which I was involved with for the past 10-years.

Processed food-manufacturing entities, whether large corporations (Kraft, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, ConAgra, General Mills, Nestlé, Kellogg, Hunt/Wesson/Campbell's, Ogilvie's/Catelli-Habitant/Primo/Unico, etc.), food terminal (National Grocers, Oshawa Wholesalers) or supermarket/retail (Weston Group/Loblaw/No Frills/No-name/President's Choice/Superstore, Metro/Dominion/Provigo/Food Basics, Sobey's/Food City/I.G.A.etc.) are given tax incentives to donate their production over-runs and surplus inventories to the Food Bank system.  This takes some of the highs and the lows out of the food supply donated by the general public through food drives and such and has made a world of difference to the range and volume of what is available for distribution locally.  This is not, nor was ever, intended to be the panacea for all that ails our increasingly impoverished society; but, it has gone a long way to help ensure that the greater majority of low-income households nationwide do get at least one resonable meal a day, removing much of the stigma associated with food bank usage/dependence.  Many of the large organizations, like the one I was affilliated with, operate Furniture and Clothing Banks in addition to that of Food, with more and more providing housing and employment referral/assistance as part of their mandate.  In addition, my own organization, the largest in the greater Toronto area, operates a kitchen serving hot-meals to walk- and shut-ins locally twice weekly during the noon-hour over and above it's subscription daily meals-on-wheels servicves.  This kitchen routinely offers food-prep/cooking courses, meal/menu planning and diabetic/dietary supplimentary instruction/assistance throughout each year.

PLEASE share with me, and with all our membership here, whether your community has food-programmes, or not, and how they are serviced and administered.  Successes and failures alike are welcomed as either will shed some light on what's been, and currently is, available.

Warren C. E. Austin
The Gay Deceiver
Toronto, Canada

[Updated on: Wed, 11 December 2013 04:38]

Re: Reading Nick's continuing commentary ...   [message #68181 is a reply to message #68179] Wed, 11 December 2013 09:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13497



We have a local food bank. While we live in an area of wealth with many very expensive homes, we have insufficient work for our young people, and we have the poverty associated, too, with a town where work is seasonal. In winter our economy is depressed. This year especially our businesses that rely ion tourism have had a surprisingly short season despite excellent weather, and are suffering. Normally profitable businesses are under pressure and have laid seasonal staff off early.

Our food bank is free and administered by local people for local people. It is a success insofar as it has not run out.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Reading Nick's continuing commentary ...   [message #68182 is a reply to message #68179] Wed, 11 December 2013 14:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW   United Kingdom

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Registered: January 2005
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Here in Worcester, UK, the foodbank is part of the network affiliated to the Trussell Trust, which is responsible for about 80% of UK Food Banks  (http://www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-projects ). As I understand it, Trussell does most of the negotiation with multinationals over surplus / short-life foods and arranges distribution, but local food banks negotiate locally, and may receive some money from local Councils etc (of which a proportion has to be passed back to Trussell).

Part of the Trussell philosophy is that they are NOT there to replace a decent working welfare state (which we no longer have). For this reason, they limit clients to food for three days, no more than four times in any 12-month period. There is a standard hurdle: clients are only given food if they've been given vouchers - which can be issued by social workers, Citizens Advice Bureaux, some Drug Advisory services, Homeless services and hostels, and so on.

The Worcester Food Bank is open three mornings a week, and based in a small office rental unit in a minor industrial estate on the fringes of the City Centre. My old schoolmate Robert was responsible for helping set up and running one in a major suburb of Birmingham (our "Second City") - they are open for a mix of a couple of mornings and a couple of afternoons, based in the Methodist church at which he's a lay preacher. The one in Tottenham, London (also Trussell), used to be open one morning and two afternoon/early evenings a week when I knew it two years ago: it was run by a rather suspect slightly Evangelical church, and some users felt that a bit of questioning about their religious orientation was inappropriate (and not allowed under Trussell guidelines).

I can't remember if I've posted this here before or not, but food for two people for three days that I helped a mate collect about three years ago was:

2 small tins Tuna in spring water
2 small tins 'chopped pork'
1 large tin sweetcorn
1 large bag pasta
1 large jar tomato sauce for pasta
2 cans tinned Sainsbury's basics tinned tomatoes
2 cans Branston baked beans
1 tin rice pudding (Sainsburys basic)
1 can peaches
1 can Heinz vegetable soup
1 can Sainsbury's basic tomato soup
1 litre long-life milk
1 small jar Hartley's blackcurrent jam
1 pack Nice biscuits (unbranded)
1 pack plain Hobnobs
1 litre orange juice
1 pack of 50 teabags
1 kg bag of granulated sugar

My major criticism of this would be that relying mainly on dried pasta for bulk is no good for those who have their gas/electricity on prepayment meters which have run out of credit. Most other items can be eaten cold, at a push, which is obviously better.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Religion and helping feed those in poverty  [message #68184 is a reply to message #68182] Thu, 12 December 2013 12:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW   United Kingdom

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Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
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In my last post, I mentioned that two out of the three food banks I know personally were based in churches.

An article in The Independent this morning reminds me that many religious groups help out by providing free meals: the Krishna lot provided free food at festivals, and in Soho for many years, though they now concentrate on Kings Cross and Camden Town (main area for runaway youngsters in London).

The article in The Independent is about Gurdwaras (Sikh temples): at around 5,000 meals a week they're obviously a valuable part of the help available in some areas. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/gurdwarasturn edfood-banks-sikh-temples-are-catering-for-rise-in-britains- hungry-8991824.html



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
UK Government declines EU funding for foodbanks!  [message #68193 is a reply to message #68179] Thu, 19 December 2013 12:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW   United Kingdom

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1528



"The government has been accused of putting "anti-European ideology" before the needs of the most deprived people in society after Britain rejected help from a European Union fund to help subsidise the costs of food banks. David Cameron, who was heavily criticised recently after Michael Gove blamed the rise in food banks on financial mismanagement by families, faced pressure to embark on a U-turn to allow EU funds to be spent on feeding the poor.The government came under fire after British officials in Brussels said that the UK did not want to use money from a new £2.5bn fund European Aid to the Most Deprived to be used to help with the costs of running food banks. The use of food banks has increased dramatically in recent months, prompting Sir John Major to warn that the poor face a stark choice between paying for heating or food."

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/dec/17/government-un der-fire-eu-funding-food-banks

This government has resolutely refused to recognise any links between their cuts to our Welfare system and the starvation an increasing number of people have to live with.

Whether or not one accepts such a link, turning down the chance of a serious sum of money to help ameliorate the conditions of the very worst off in the UK is - by my standards - deeply immoral.

It's back to doing whatever we can as individuals, whenever we can manage it. Not forgetting that many of those affected are the runaway / throwaway kids that are such a staple of the gay bildungsroman that we all love to read ...



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: UK Government declines EU funding for foodbanks!  [message #68200 is a reply to message #68193] Fri, 20 December 2013 05:23 Go to previous message
Smokr is currently offline  Smokr   United States

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I've qualified for food stamps. sigh
$196 a month. Not something to live off of, but enough to keep me from having to live off of Ramen noodles (which I hate) and rice cakes. (which I also hate)
Tuesday, I went to a nearby town where a factory was hiring 5-10 persons at WorkOne. The building's capacity was rated at 120, so the sign said. It was filled as soon as it was opened, and we had to stand in line in below-freezing temps to get in. I arrived at 8:40. I got inside at 1:35. I got to fill out forms and then waited until 3:20. Then I was interviewed for six minutes, given a form, took an exam on computer basics, another on spotting bad parts in a lineup of similar parts, and a math competency exam, all on computer. I was then given a business card and told they would call me if they were interested. They were going to hire 5-10 that day, and put another fifty to one-hundred into a hiring pool in which they would hold our names for one year.
I'd guess well over a thousand people showed up, easily. Probably around two-thousand or so. There was still a line of more than a hundred when I got out of there at 4:50.
Interesting side-note. Not to sound racist, honest. Just basic facts and numbers.
The county population is 31,481. 34% blacks, 11% hispanic. That means about 10,700 blacks, 3,462 hispanics. Unemployment among blacks is 35%, hispanics is listed at 31%. Whites, 11%. For the county.
There were exactly seven blacks and five hispanics that I counted all day. Out of at least one thousand, if not two thousand. Odd.

[Updated on: Fri, 20 December 2013 05:37]




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