After living in this small town for 2 years I had a bit of a revelation the other week when we went for a visit into the community with my boy’s Kea group (baby scouts for those outside NZ). What was this revelation?……. That this small town of 3000 has a Foodbank, and it is used regularly by many people in our community.
I knew that there was a Foodbank collection in the Supermarket, which we have donated to before, however I honestly didn’t pick our little town with a good tourist trade and over 10% of the population employed by the local factory as needing such a resource. For some reason I just thought the donations were being sent off further afield. Ignorance it may be but I wonder how many others are in the same boat as me? In not seeing homeless on our town’s streets, in not seeing beggars as we walked about, I allowed myself not to think about what may have been happening behind closed doors.
I guess it is a fact of life that groceries prices are only increasing while wages are staying pretty much the same. Many people who use our local service are in paid employment however their pay is such that after clearing necessary bills they are left with very little to nourish themselves and their families for the week. Of course there are also others who are un-employed for whatever reasons, there are homeless, there are travellers and many others who use the service as way of getting by. For them the Foodbank not only provides them with sustenance it also provides them with a friendly face, a cup of tea and sometimes a warm place to be for a short time.
When we visited our local Foodbank one of the first things which struck me was how empty the shelves actually were. The woman spoke about how those using the service got a small amount to last them till the next pay or enough food to last them a few days. Looking at the shelves it did make me wonder if that policy came about due to lack of food to give. It isn’t just food either that is in demand as toiletries are also included in the items given out and the demanding is ever increasing too.
With an election in the wind here in NZ the news is full of stories about homeless, homes with not enough and how the government hopes to deal with these issues. Unfortunately, very soon after the election these news stories vanish into thin air and we ‘forget’ again about those in our communities who are not making ends meet as well as they would hope to. So I’m thinking that in posting this it it may remind us all about those in our community who need support and also as a wee challenge. Maybe if we all give an item from our grocery bags to the local foodbank every now and then we could make a huge difference to someone else’s life.
Do you know where your closest food bank is? Check it out here www.growtogether.org.nz if you’re not sure.
Hope this finds you all well, nourished and looking forward to the week ahead.