I volunteer at a local food bank, there are several in my area. My role is to input into the computer the details of those who contact us so that they receive food from us which is usually delivered directly to their door with the exception of those who live closest to the distribution centre. People can self refer so no hoops to jump through and most of our users are also using the other food banks and charities where we live. I am a small cog in a big wheel, and just follow the rules of what I am asked to do, others make those rules.
We as a family are not well off but have the ability to manage our small income to make ends meet, if we can’t afford it we don’t have it, it’s that simple. I probably would qualify for help if I had our income and outgoings looked at but we prefer to stand on our own two feet. I was brought up not to waste resources and have tried to educate our children in the same way. I do know how lucky I am to be able to manage to get by. And here it comes…. The more I learn about the people who access our service the more flaming annoyed I get, there are genuine people who literally do not have enough coming in and to me this is who we should be prioritising and I get so annoyed that they are falling through the cracks and left behind. What I find more irksome is that week on week while the poorest fall further behind I receive what amounts to shopping/wish lists. Apart from those who have special dietary requirements such as Celiac disease and the like I am apt to think that folk should be grateful for any support that we can provide bearing in mind that we rely on donations from the public to redistribute, but honestly I do wonder if this monster that has been created actually helps the majority of our users to learn essential life lessons like budgeting at all? Some of the requests are to me outrageous so for example instead of asking for deodorant they ask for expensive brands like Dove this or that fragrance, last week someone requested freshly ground coffee which was a further step up from the usual requests for Nescafé, or Douwe Egberts, then there’s the mums who request really expensive formula and nappies to feed children they cannot afford whilst becoming pregnant with more children they cannot afford. Then there are those who obtain food so that they can buy illegal drugs with their money.
The icing on the cake this weekend has been from someone who has up until recently been given a store voucher one day and food the next day. The £25 weekly vouchers have stopped and the single person user isn’t happy because they usually buy fresh fish, meat and other ingredients with it and has now taken to contacting the local Conservative MP to complain. The irony of that isn’t wasted on me.
As a family of 4 who can rarely afford to buy fresh fish and meat ourselves but tries to be altruistic I’m getting a bit peeved at the rights over responsibility attitude of some people and I am beginning feel as though I don’t want to give or help, especially when the recipients are posting on social media their takeaways and grand days out.
I know I sound like a hard hearted bitch when in reality I know that you have to walk a day in someone’s shoes to know how it is for them but some peoples idea of being in desperate need completely contradict my knowledge of it. AIBU?
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