I did my stint with the Neighbourhood Food Collection the other day, co-ordinated by the Trussell Trust and FareShare. The venue was Tesco at Dalgety Bay. It was quite profitable, I’d say – in my two and a half hours I estimated I took in about £200 worth of food plus a £20 donation. People were very generous. Some people had questions or comments, like:
- ‘It makes me so angry that this kind of thing is necessary’.
- ‘It makes me feel really guilty when charities keep asking for things.’
- ‘Is this stuff really for local people? You mean in Dalgety Bay? You’re not telling me people in Dalgety Bay need help of this kind?’
No good answer for No 1 – it makes me angry too but that’s the way it is. For No 2 I’d say you need to live without guilt – either by hardening your heart or getting in touch with your generous inner angel (the lady in question obviously did the latter as she deposited a couple of bags of lentils into the trolley). For No 3 – well, who knows? I don’t live in Dalgety Bay, which is, as far as I can tell, a prosperous commuter town facing Edinburgh across the Forth. But I bet they do have people who struggle, for all the usual reasons – age, infirmity, job loss and so on.
Most of the donations (tins, teabags, coffee, UHT milk, pasta, rice) will, I guess, go to the Food Bank for distribution. I’m glad it happens, but it doesn’t gladden my heart to think of living on processed food. Especially in a world where so much food is wasted. There was an inspirational series of programmes on BBC1 last week about a charity in Oxford which collects surplus fresh food from supermarkets and distributes it to local charities where fresh and wholesome meals are cooked and served to people in various kinds of need. This of course meets social as well as physical hunger, along with a good dose of vitamins and minerals. The project was rolling out to London and thence, it was hoped, ‘all over the country’ – not sure if they meant Scotland or not. However this is my task for the week – to find out what’s happening up here, and who’s doing it, and whether/how I can get involved. Anybody with any leads or contacts, will be delighted to hear from you.