AT THE SHARP END
22% of people in the UK live in poverty
Benefit system changes, rent increases, low wage growth and an ever-more pervasive gig economy are forcing more and more people into financial hardship. It can be a much shorter and faster road than people imagine from a stable secure life to a life on the streets or in unmanageable debt and despair. It can just take something as simple as a prolonged period of sickness or injury recovery to completely destabilise family units and leave people near to destitution. The only help that most people can access when the benefit system turns them down are food parcels, which are often unncessarily complicated to apply for, involving sign-off from doctors or DWP officials. Even then, many people may lack the facilities, the skills or the energy to prepare good meals from donated tins and packets. Fresh produce is rarely included in such parcels.
At Food For All, we take wholesale fresh produce that would have otherwise gone to waste and turn it into hot meals that are ready to eat. This vital service has such an impact on some of our service users’ lives that even many years later, they join our project to help it continue for those in present need. Indeed, many of our regular volunteers first came into contact with us through receiving food from us.
In addition to our usual activities, we have taken our service abroad in times of crisis, and were active in serving the refugee community living in makeshift camps around Calais during winter periods.< MENTAL WELLBEINGENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES >