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FOOD / Energy / Clothing BANKS : MORE A HUMANITARIAN THREAD ? 100,000+ Carers Reported As Needing Them In 2018 - Page 38 - Carers UK Forum

FOOD / Energy / Clothing BANKS : MORE A HUMANITARIAN THREAD ? 100,000+ Carers Reported As Needing Them In 2018

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
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XPO Logistics reports record food bank donations over Christmas period


XPO Logistics delivered more than seven tonnes of food to 35 food banks across the UK over the Christmas period.

The donation was equivalent to providing an estimated 9,500 meals for vulnerable people across the UK, according to the global logistics group.

More than 8,700 XPO employees supported the initiative by collecting or donating food, raising funds or volunteering at local food banks. It was the fifth consecutive food drive for the company and set a new record for its annual ‘United in Giving’ campaign.

“During the past five years, we have donated more than 32 tonnes of food through our ‘United in Giving’ campaign,” said Malcolm Wilson, CEO at XPO Logistics Europe.

“This has provided about 39,000 meals for vulnerable individuals in our communities. Our 2019 donation signals a significant step forward in our CSR strategy to reach those who are in critical need of help.”

Wendy White, co-ordinator at Clifton NG11 Foodbank, added: “XPO’s donations have enabled us to take care of vulnerable people in Clifton and other communities of Nottingham, including Ruddington, Beeston and West Bridgford.

“As part of the Trussell Trust network of food banks, we have seen our figures multiply from this time last year. We supported 82 families in the 12 days leading up to the holiday season, and we were able to help the homeless and organisations such as the Refugee Centre with several soup kitchens. The food banks are extremely grateful for XPO’s support.”

US-headquartered XPO has 1,531 locations across 30 countries and employs about 100,000 staff.
Food-bank users deserve luxuries as well as lentils – just like everyone else

In the nine years since I first visited a food bank they have become disappointingly commonplace – as have the weird ideas about what we’re supposed to donate.



It was 2011 when I first went to a food bank to see what was going on, but the Trussell Trust had launched its first one more than a decade earlier.

So, in a way, it was naive to think that this was a watershed political moment, but not unreasonable to think they were political in essence.

We used to think of food aid as an American peculiarity, one of those degrading stopgaps they prefer to a social safety net.

Was Britain, too, on its way to rejecting universal dignity as a principle, and replacing it with something materially meagre and philosophically ungenerous ? Or was it just a cod Americanism that politics was trying out, the way singers try to sound like Shania Twain before they find their own voice ?

We got our answer to that soon enough: the story in 2011 was that food bank use had surged by 50%, with 61,000 people going to the Trussell Trust in a year. Last year that was 1.6 million.


One thing I never thought this was was a story about food.

I didn’t even look inside the parcels ; it would have felt incredibly intrusive, a little like poking through someone else’s shopping trolley.

The first backlash moment I remember was when someone – a reader, I couldn’t possibly guess of which newspaper – spotted some Maldon sea salt on a food bank shelf.

Thus was the truth unmasked: that these people were not hungry at all, they were just in it for the incredibly expensive salt. Jack Monroe, the Bootstrap Cook, who has done the extraordinary work of building a recipe encyclopaedia from the foods you might get at a food bank, pointed out that they were just working with whatever people had donated.

Users may, occasionally, get some peaches in armagnac; that would not be proof positive that they weren’t destitute.

Despite making perfect sense, the point did not land: the new normal was that food had to be extremely basic, otherwise food bank users were somehow in breach of their “contract”. There is necessity and there is pleasure, and if they ever coexist, the need is a lie. Monroe has worked tirelessly against this, insisting on pleasure in whatever bag of lentils she chances upon, but she seems to be doing this almost singlehandedly.

By 2017, some supermarkets were handing out suggested shopping lists if you wanted to donate: tinned meat, fish, fruit, veg, soup and pulses; UHT milk; tea, coffee, rice and pasta. Of course, they have to be tinned, since they can’t be perishable (although arguably, usage is so high now that shifting a few bananas wouldn’t be very hard).

Absent a can of condensed milk, this is exactly the food my mum used to keep in the cellar (she said in case we got snowed in, but really for the untoward event of a nuclear war).

To give “austerity” its fullest meaning, this – minus the pasta – is a postwar shopping list, the food you would eat without complaint in the immediate aftermath of a national disaster.

The Trussell Trust typically tries to include some biscuits, but its offering is still strikingly pared down.

This is about more than what people happen to donate : there are conventions, now, around what you’re supposed to donate. So in Cardiff, two Christmases ago, there was a glut of baked beans and tea bags, but an urgent shortage of sponge puddings. That made perfect sense : if a food parcel is political, which it is, then its contents will be scrutinised, and somebody, somewhere, will call a pudding empty calories.

Why would a person in genuine need eat an empty calorie ? Beans ? Now there’s an honest food. Basic enough that nobody is getting something for nothing.

It is actually the food itself, more than the widespread experience of hunger, that distills the difference between charity and social security.

With charity comes the end of privacy, since your basket is everybody’s business.

But it also builds a very functional view of the body, insofar as the least it requires to survive is also the most that it needs, as though you are talking about horses, or rabbits (dogs are exempt from this narrative ; God knows how they got away with it, but it would be considered very inhumane never to give a dog a treat).

And the fact that you can imagine all these foods on the basics list of a ration card, instead of ringing any alarm bells ( Hang on a second : we didn’t have a war; we don’t have a national food shortage ), only serves to reinforce the notion that it is somehow character-building, because, you know, wars are.
IFAN’s mapping suggests that reliance on the Trussell Trust food parcel figures alone significantly underestimates food bank usage in the UK.



Pitch for full picture food bank stats.

Government puts faith in new monitoring to clarify rising numbers regarded as an underestimate.



Government has reinforced its faith in new monitoring to reduce the reliance thousands have on food banks – with present figures for usage acknowledged as a likely underestimate.

As revealed by 24housing, the Government wants to “develop a better understanding of household food needs” but holds no official data or record of the number of food banks in the UK.

Responding to a written Commons question from Labour’s Gareth Thomas on what DWP was doing to reduce food bank use, DWP minister Will Quince referenced the new set of food security questions in the Family Resources Survey introduced from April last year.

“This means that we will in future be able to monitor the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity across the UK and for specific groups, to better understand the drivers of food insecurity and identify which groups are most at risk,” he said.

Quince’s response was broadly the same as that offered to the House of Lords in October last year, when DWP minister Baroness Stedman-Scott outlined work the government had done with food insecurity experts, the Office for National Statistics and the Scottish Government to introduce those food security questions .

Recent stats from the Trussell Trust show a 23% rise in the number of food parcels it distributed through its food bank network over April-September last year – compared to the same period in 2018.

The rise from 658,048 to 823,145 parcels represents the steepest increase the Trussell Trust has recorded for five years – around a third of these parcels were requested for children.

Given the current statistical collection, the figures for food bank use are widely regarded as an underestimate.

Insight into the Commons take on food bank use is offered in a new briefing paper: What do the latest food bank statistics tell us?

This paper references research from universities and charities as offering increasing amounts of data on food banks and a fuller picture of their provision UK-wide.

The clearest picture is said to emerge in Scotland, where there’s data on independent food bank distribution, as well as that from the Trussell Trust.

Other studies are said to provide a more detailed picture of the characteristics of food bank users across the UK.

According to the Commons papers there are just over 2,000 food banks in the UK – 1,200 run by the Trussell Trust and 822 represented by the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) which has started publishing food bank statistics in the same format used by the Trussell Trust.

The Commons papers say food banks collect data on the quantity of three-day emergency parcels they distribute rather than the number of individual users, so that any user who returns is counted a second time.

The Trussell Trust has two sizes of food parcel: adult and child. Independent food banks distribute almost as many food parcels as Trussell Trust food banks.

In November last year, the Trussell Trust published State of Hunger, the largest research project into food bank use in the UK to date.

It surveyed more than 1,100 people using Trussell Trust food banks, 28 food bank managers and 306 referral agencies in 13 areas.

State of Hunger re-enforced evidence of so-called welfare reform pushing individuals and families into destitution, despite on-going government denials.

The three-year study is being carried out at Heriot-Watt University and has identified characteristics of food bank users.

It has so far found that out of those referred to a Trussell Trust food bank:

94% were ‘facing real destitution,’ unable to buy essentials to stay warm, dry, clean and fed.

23% were homeless.

Over two-thirds had experienced a problem with the benefits system in the year before they needed emergency food, including long waits and benefit award reductions.

Over three quarters were in arrears, most commonly rent.

40% were repaying debts.

Nearly 75% reported at least one health issue in their household, over half of which were mental health problems.

22% were single parents.

Nearly half were single person households.

89% were born in the UK, slightly above the 86% of the population as a whole.


In the year prior to using a food bank seven in ten respondents reported at least one ‘challenging life experience’ such as eviction or divorce, while a large minority also reported having experienced an ‘adverse work-related experience’ such as losing a job or a reduction in work hours.

IFAN’s mapping suggests that reliance on the Trussell Trust food parcel figures alone significantly underestimates food bank usage in the UK.

The Scottish Government/ Riaghaltas na h-Alba supported IFAN’s work with A Menu for Change – an alliance of poverty charities – to collect data on independent food banks in Scotland.

In March last year, IFAN published detailed data on emergency food parcel provision in Scotland from April 2017-September 2018 when there were 118 Trussell Trust and 94 independent foodbanks.

The data showed that although there were fewer independent food banks, they distributed almost as many three-day emergency food parcels (221,977) as Trussell Trust outlets (258,606) in Scotland.

In January 2020 IFAN published data for the period April 2018 to September 2019 and reported a 22% rise compared to the total during the previous 18 months recorded.

IFAN is now working to extend this data collection to the rest of the UK to provide more accurate food bank statistics nationwide.
Stoke-on-Trent families 'eat donated baby food'

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-s ... e-51299335

Melly1
374 posts