Food insecurity and why donating to a food bank or offering your time is really important
In the last few months, I have seen some of the strongest characters beaten down by this pandemic, the biggest hearts and the proudest minds in a state of limbo. The scale of uncertainty has never been more prevalent, or so suffocating in my lifetime than today.
It's frightening to witness how quickly life can change, how quickly communities need to band together to help. To help the people we don't see. The people who are lonely, isolated and cut off from society (to regain their confidence). Yet it’s almost comical that, no matter what we see, there is no general face of poverty. No predetermined characteristics. Nothing that differentiates them from us except a pronoun.
The BBC outlines something important. Debunks a prejudice blindly accepted by us, that people in need of help are alcoholics, drug addicts using their benefits for substance over necessity. In fact “The most typical are single men, lone mothers with children and single women - between them accounting for about two-thirds of all food bank users. Social isolation, the lack of a friend in need, plays a part, as well as threadbare finances.”
Spending the last couple months in a community kitchen adapted to counteract food insecurity on account of redundancies it had never been so clear. Access to three meals a day is a luxury that many cannot afford. In a system where fast food is glorified, what happens when restaurants close. Lines stretch around the corner of the supermarket, and prices fly up. What happens to the single father, unable to work to put food on the table, shelves bare, fridge empty.
It's a different feeling to see, to remove the rose coloured glasses. Notice the struggle and gratitude behind every donation. Witness the joy a box of cereal can produce.
Incentivising, enlightening in its simplest form, to continue past convenience.
An hour of your time with the ability to change a life. Your own, if you keep an open mind, and a handful of change gives you the ability to change a person's day. Reignite a fight to take back the controls. Remind them that they are never truly alone.
I've never been around such inspirational people. A company of volunteers driven to uplift and protect their neighbours. I started volunteering as an escape, it was a loophole of sorts in the tier 2 restrictions of august. One that enabled me to be a part of something again, added structure, fitted with an achievable goal each day.
The smile brigade has been around forever, a stone's throw from my house, like many of you, I was ignorant to the disparity surrounding me. But I hope, since you've read till the end, many more organisations will experience and utilise the love of its community. Maybe it starts with a donation, a jar of coffee to warm up a cold night.
I hope it starts with you.