Amber Warning: Hunger is no game for many people in Britain today

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Leading up to Christmas, food is what I am looking forward to the most.

Not presents or family board games, but food. Why? It’s always spectacular and, hey, it’s not every day of the year there’s a good excuse to eat anything and everything.

Lib-Dem Pensioner Christmas Dinner. Eastbourne Lib-Dems held their Annual Christmas Dinner for local pensioners at Bishop Bell School.  January 26th 2014 ENGSUS00120140129165655

Lib-Dem Pensioner Christmas Dinner. Eastbourne Lib-Dems held their Annual Christmas Dinner for local pensioners at Bishop Bell School. January 26th 2014 ENGSUS00120140129165655

On the topic of food, a lot of us will be able to look forward to heaped plates of steaming fresh vegetables, sumptuous turkey and crispy roast potatoes drenched in delicious gravy.

Maybe you’ll have a Christmas pudding with ice cream afterwards, and perhaps some chocolates from the selection box you’ll undoubtedly receive. Maybe you’ll curl up on the sofa to watch a couple of festive films on your brand new 60” HD-3D TV with the built in WiFi.

But some people don’t have the luxury of a Christmas dinner to look forward to, never mind a new TV that probably cost a thousand pounds. For some, the thought of Christmas Day will bring feelings of anxiety, not joy, because not everyone can even afford a tin of soup. How will they afford a Christmas at all?

That’s where food banks come in. I’ve always known these existed, but it’s only recently that I decided to look into them properly, and eventually I asked my parents if we could donate some food in time for Christmas. Luckily, there are quite a few food banks to donate to in our area, including King’s Lynn, Dereham, Thetford, Ely and Wisbech to name a few, and now is the perfect time to donate because December and January often see numbers increase.

The food bank I’ll be donating to is the one in King’s Lynn, which is open for donations between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday at The Purfleet Trust. They have a shopping list containing items they need the most, including milk (UHT or powdered), sugar, cartons of fruit juice, soup, pasta sauces, tinned sponge pudding, tinned tomatoes, cereals, tinned rice pudding, tea bags/instant coffee, instant mashed potato, rice and pasta, tinned meat and fish, tinned fruit and vegetables, jam, biscuits and snack bars.

They can also accept treat items, such as sweets and fizzy drinks, and Christmas selection boxes.

Sorry if this is making you hungry.

The point is, our local food banks can sometimes see nearly 300 people in a month.

That’s roughly an entire primary school. Without these food banks, adults and children in poverty would go hungry. Hunger is a problem which is often ignored, and when people do talk about it, minds instantly travel to the starving bellies of Africa, but it’s much closer to home.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to buy a couple of extra items when you’re next walking down the aisles of the supermarket, or if you have some spare non-perishable and in-date items in the back of your cupboards, please consider helping local families in crisis.

As long as food banks are around, people won’t have to pick between heating their homes and eating anymore.