As the first snow falls and we turn our attention to the festive season, many of us are thinking about family, friends and good food, but for many others, that’s not the focus.
They’re involved in an impossible struggle to make ends meet. That’s why I’ve launched my reverse advent calendar again this year. I’m asking people, who can, to donate to local foodbanks.
Figures released by the charity, the Trussell Trust, show that in the six months between August and September over 5,000 food parcels per day were handed out across the country.
More and more of those receiving them are families with children. They’re destitute at the point they’re referred to a foodbank, despite many of these parents being in work and often holding down more than one job.
With a bleak winter ahead and rising food and energy bills starting to bite, families up and down the land won’t be able to afford the essentials needed to stay warm, keep dry and eat properly.
As we approach Christmas, the demand for food parcels will reach a frightening 7,000 per day. This is happening at a time when universal credit has fallen to around 12% of median earnings compared to 20% when the welfare state was introduced in 1948. Can we really afford less now than we could just after the war?
It’s what happens when the economy is dogged by low pay, low growth and rising inflation. It requires a step change. We need fewer slogans and much more active government.
In the meantime, those of us who can help, should help. Foodbanks are run entirely by volunteers and totally reliant on donations from the public. I want to thank all those giving up their time to help during the weeks ahead.
If you’d like to join in, you can find details on my website (www.stevemccabe.org) or just contact any local foodbank.
This problem doesn’t only affect people during Christmas. Foodbanks will also experience a surge in demand after the holidays, so I’ll be organising a further collection early in January. Let’s do our bit!