Earlier this week I received an email from my local Food Bank charity who I had volunteered with before that they were in desperate need for volunteers at their food drive at certain big name supermarket today.
I believe passionately in the service that food banks provide and try to donate my time, money or stock whenever I am able to. For years the boy and I had our own food bank in the form of his parents, when we were under employed, or worse unemployed, or just struggling on our low income. Many more people in the UK and across the world have the same struggles but most are not as lucky as the boy and I were. I am so thankful for that support and have never forgotten it, nor how close I would have been to using a food bank. You can have a job and still be struggling. You could have lost everything due to ill health. Even if struggles were caused by previous bad decisions you still deserve support and the chance to survive and have a change.
I had the day off work today, as it is my birthday. I suppose many people would have understood if I didn’t choose to volunteer today but I felt a bit like ‘people struggle to buy food on their birthdays, they don’t get a day off’ so I went and helped out.
I was with a veteran volunteer when a young ish woman, around my age, came up and spoke to us.
She said she wanted to thank the Food Banks for everything they did as she had needed them in the past and had been supported by them. She also said that she had assumed things would be fine after graduating, that she would be able to support herself, and it hadn’t turned out that way.
I told her I had been the same, that I had struggled, that I thought I would be able to support myself as an adult without much luck.
This isn’t me commenting on the state of the world or badgering people to do their bit as everyone has their own lives to do with what they wish.
I will just say that hearing that made me realise I would have been wrong to have not come today just because it was my birthday.
And I know all this sounds a bit like I’m trying to get a gold star for being good when really I was just doing a base level on the game of ‘being a decent human being’ which isn’t my intention, but it was good to see first hand that Food Banks work and that they do help people.