All over the world, there are those who are suffering due to poverty, civil war and now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic; food shortages. These were in existence before with a massively wasted food system and many tons a day of good useable food being thrown away, not only by the major supermarkets and store chains with overstocking but also because of over-zealous everyday people at home buying too much and so being frivolous.
Now it has become much more evident with difficulty in obtaining everyday items, let alone food – for some, it is nigh impossible…
Relief for those in need comes in the form of different criteria and delivery systems, but all lead to the same principle; people get fed. One of these sources of food in cities and urban areas are ‘food banks’ and are frequented by the homeless and in-betweeners frequently.
These work by relying on local donations with special collection points in supermarkets for customers to drop donations of food to be collected by the foodbank, some big stores give away what they would normally throw away as is getting close, or is at the ‘sell by’ date which is still a few days away from the ‘best before’ date.
Whatever, there is a large amount of food daily thrown away by these supermarkets and food production outlets; coffee houses included; that is either collected or delivered to central stores or separate smaller foodbanks for distribution.
This is a good thing, less food waste that is being handed out to those in need by volunteers but there is a darker side in that not all the people who visit these outlets are legitimately in need.
To be eligible for most foodbanks you just need to turn up and say that you are in need of food.
As the foodbanks are run mainly by volunteers, some from religious outreaches , the servers are not there to argue the fact whether someone turning up for food really needs it but there are those (not all) who take this route, the free food route, literally taking the food from others mouths (who really need it).
I don’t think really can be done about this situation at the moment, perhaps social distancing is not helping as one-to-ones can no longer be regulated (safely).
The only thing we can take away from this is just to be mindful of who you donate to and also only give usable goods like food and cleaning products like soap and shampoo/shower gels – ie, not produce that can be sold easily and there is an open market for them…
Look after yourselves (and of course each other).