Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas excess, supermarket shopping and foodbanks

A couple of days ago I went to the supermarket to do the big Christmas food shop. The place was heaving (despite it being 10pm) and some people were pushing two overflowing trolleys through the checkouts.

When it came to my turn the bill came to just over £114, which for me is a lot to spend on one shop - but it's Christmas, and we all like to over indulge don't we? I got chatting to the checkout operator who casually said that lots of people were spending between £300-400 on their food shopping for the week and it really struck me as completely mad. I mean, the shops are only closed for one day and just how much food can one family eat on the big day? Even I had spent over £100 for just the three of us, and there will be other bits and pieces bought during the week too.

When it came to unpacking and putting all of the shopping away I realised I needed to make some room because the fridge was already quite full, along with the cupboards. So I got a couple of carrier bags and filled them up with food that was either past its sell by date or had been festering at the bottom of the fridge.  And there was a lot of it. Bread, cold meats, loads of fruit and veg, some cheese.

When I took the bags out to the bin I felt ashamed.

Ashamed, because I was throwing away food that we had wasted when an increasing number of families are having to get theirs from foodbanks this Christmas.

Image from the Trussell Trust website
The recent increase of foodbanks in the this country is nothing short of a travesty and the fact that 16 million people in this country -  this country - not a third world country - live below the poverty line is appalling.

Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. Trussell Trust foodbanks provide a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK.
In 2011-12 foodbanks fed 128,687 people nationwide, 100% more than the previous year. Rising costs of food and fuel combined with static income, high unemployment and changes to benefits are causing more and more people to come to foodbanks for help.
Please spare a thought for the families who will be using foodbanks this week. You can find a list of your nearest foodbank here, with a list of the type of foods needed.
If you can donate something this week please do because, quite frankly, there but for the grace of God go many of us.