Gransnet forums


To be unable to give to food banks.

(23 Posts)
gmelon Sun 18-Feb-18 18:04:05

Through various events I had three years of contact with a woman in her forties and her children, aged 23, 13, and eight month old baby. Older boy was sent to Grandmas years ago.

This experience has stopped me from wanting to donate to food banks.
I want to believe the food is essential to people who are in a bad position at this part of their lives.
This experience has stopped me.

(A social worker and various authorities were involved)

She was receiving food from various food banks after the school voiced concern over her 13yr old daughter.

She was of the opinion that if you could get food free then it meant more money for her and her boyfriend.

She lived in absolute chaos and filth.

Benefit money was spent on cigarettes for her and her 26yr old boyfriend. She would send him money to buy cigarettes.

Boyfriend lived miles away and she would send him money for petrol to try and persuade him to visit her and his eight month old child.

To add to the filth kittens were being born constantly and the smell was once so bad that a visit was abandonded due to my eyes stinging and not being able to breathe.

The beds were filthy . Walls black with damp.
She squandered her money on the main focus of her whole existence , the boyfriend. He turned up every five or six weeks.

The teenage daughter was 16 on my last visit, she had grown through her teens with no provision of clothes or even basic hygiene essentials.
Currently the daughter has left home and is living in an isolated area with a known drug dealer.

The attitude to the food was that you grabbed anything going free and you had more money without feeding the children yourself.

Oopsadaisy12 Sun 18-Feb-18 18:08:28

Well Gmelon , I’m stunned to think that those poor children weren’t taken to a place of safety. I thought that was what social services were there for?

gmelon Sun 18-Feb-18 18:09:20

The plan was to help her manage better.

gmelon Sun 18-Feb-18 18:11:26

It sounds unreasonable to us but children are deemed to always be best at home, no matter what the home.
Apart from circumstances of physical/sexual abuse.

Oopsadaisy12 Sun 18-Feb-18 18:14:30

Well as the teenager is now with a drug dealer something isn’t working. We seem to have gone from one extreme, where Social services swooped in to take the children, to now being afraid to do it.
However, I will still give to Food Banks in the hope that the family you posted about aren’t typical.

mollie Sun 18-Feb-18 18:29:21

How did you know this woman, gmelon?

Marelli Sun 18-Feb-18 18:44:17

If the foodbanks she accessed were those of the Trussell Trust, she wouldn’t have been able to obtain from more than one at a time. They monitor quite closely those clients who need the help, and require vouchers from Social Services, GP’s, etc.

Jalima1108 Sun 18-Feb-18 18:58:26

Yes, I thought they needed vouchers from Social Services or the GP.
I wonder how she got round the system?

GrandmaMoira Sun 18-Feb-18 19:45:09

Whilst this woman has duped the system in a very bad way, I feel that we should still give what we feel able so that at least children get food.

Cuchulainn Sun 18-Feb-18 20:07:43

I think that this lady would be a rare case. I regularly give to food banks and wouldn’t allow one isolated case stop me. Too many folk in need out there.

Niobe Sun 18-Feb-18 20:19:28

I fear that the food banks are being abused. In 2014 I completed the training to become a volounteer for the CAB. During the lesson on referring people to food banks we were warned about the way the system was being abused. There was a supermarket next door and we were told by the trainer that we would see people outside offering items for sale to shoppers as they entered the supermarket. These items had been obtained from the food bank and the recipients wanted cash. Everyone knows the system is abused by some recipients but equally it is a lifeline for some.

Anniebach Sun 18-Feb-18 21:16:12

We have to accept some will abuse the system , always has been so, always will, this should not stop us caring for those in need.

GrandmaKT Sun 18-Feb-18 21:18:59

I had a slightly similar experience once when I met a teenager who lived in the local orphanage. Every Easter the local branch of the bank had a trolly for people to donate Easter Eggs for the children. She told me they had 30 eggs each! It's sometimes hard to know what to do for the best when donating.

Luckygirl Sun 18-Feb-18 21:26:59

Exactly annie - you said it before me.

cornergran Sun 18-Feb-18 21:29:59

I couldn’t agree more annie, we give to the food bank every week, if 50%of it goes to the people who need it that’s a good enough reason. I can’t bear to think of hungry children.

gmelon Sun 18-Feb-18 21:46:20

She had various food banks she used.
Through Churches and also voucher given through the school arranging it.

Marydoll Sun 18-Feb-18 21:48:19

I agree Annie. There will always people who abuse the system, but genuine cases should suffer because of them.

gmelon Sun 18-Feb-18 21:49:36

a voucher given on a limited basis after the school stepped in.

Marydoll Sun 18-Feb-18 21:58:04

That was meant to be "SHOULDN'T."

gmelon Sun 18-Feb-18 21:59:47

Thank you for the replies.
You would be surprised how persuasive some people can be,the Churches would rarely turn down a tearful mother with a baby in tow.

It will now be easier for me to see that genuine people are being helped and that is what matters.

I couldn't get the image of her out of my head every time I saw a food bank .

It did not sit well with me that I wasn't contributing and that is why I put the situation on here.

cornergran Your point rang home with me, if only 50% of the food is helping genuine clients then of course it is worth doing.

mumofmadboys Sun 18-Feb-18 22:01:03

There will always be people who abuse the system but that should not stop us behaving / giving generously

M0nica Mon 19-Feb-18 17:57:02

gmelon Do you know of any organisation helping the needy that can absolutely guarantee to be able never under any circumstances to give help to any but the deserving poor? I certainly don't. If such an organisation existed it would end up having to refuse to help many who were desperately in need because they could not be 101% sure that they were pure and clean and would not let a pennies worth of what they are given go to anyone unworthy.

We are all human, prone to error and some money we donate to charity will be misused, but while I know that each organisation does its best to ensure help is properly applied, I, for one will keep giving.

gmelon Tue 20-Feb-18 16:58:06

I know of no such guarantee, an impossibility of course.

I seem to have developed this block with the food bank although I give regularly and as generously as I can to Shelter throughout the year and at Christmas also I encourage friends and relatives to donate to "Crisis at Christmas" paying for a Christmas meal and healthcare etc over the Christmas period.

I've got no misconceptions that everyone being aided by Shelter is an angel down on their luck and it matters not one jot to me.

I have even managed to persuade others that the availability of just one hot meal a day is a neccessity in life for everyone no matter their personal background or lifestyle.

We can learn a lot from the Sikh beliefs. They feed allcomers at their temple , no questions asked.

It was this food bank issue because I have seen it taken such advantage of.
Now I have more positive thoughts about giving.