I AM Present

I AM Present

Monday, October 21, 2013

With supermarkets donating food to poor families and soup kitchens, has Britain returned to the 1930s?

Merry Monday to you!

I would like us all in our meditations/contemplations and Light-sending moments to be acutely aware of and send spiritual sustenance to the many dying of starvation daily on our planet. And I would then like us - those who are able to spare a little cash for food - to follow up with some practical action.

Particularly in the light of another terrible and heart-wrenching political game under puppet Syrian president Assad being played on the people of Damascus. Terror by starvation in Moadamiyah, south of Damascus, has been well underway the past few months. It was the same area who's people were gassed to death by sarin in the August attack.
Residents and children there are trying to survive on grapevine leaves, olives and figs. And recently a law was passed to allow people at a refugee camp to eat cat, dog and donkey to survive!

None of this has anything to do with feeling guilty about having! And particularly shouldn't cause any to rush out and throw money at so-called international food aid organisations and charities. As the vast majority of these have sadly turned out to be fraudulent. Thus, chances of your hard-earned cash actually going into delivering food to the needy of the world are probably next to nil.

Instead, those amongst you who have the means: would you allow yourselves to be guided through your inner discernment when you come across a family or an individual (homeless or not) who is genuinely in need of food? Think about how you and your loved ones might feel in your own crisis after several days without food or water; how desperate... And how reliant and hopeful you'd be on the kindness of strangers.

I personally have rules for purchasing and distributing food to the local, unemployed people of my area. Firstly, I only ever give food and never money. I also NEVER give to an addict of any kind and I am surrounded by them in my area. Many of the unemployed numb their pain and hopelessness with alcohol or drugs. I refuse to contribute to their chosen path of self-destruction. And I've caught them too often selling off the food or trying to return it to the store I purchased at to obtain the money.

I don't know what the situation is in your own country, but here people go seven to nine days without ever having a square meal. Unofficially, half to two thirds of this country are unemployed. So, hungry tummies are around me everywhere, every day here.

Please. Do what you can in your own situation and country's circumstances for our less-fortunate brethren everywhere.

With much gratitude


By Sonia Poulton

3 July 2012

Every now and then, just as I did today, I send a silent apology out into The Universe. I'm not sure who or what receives it but I hope it goes some way towards acknowledging my personal regret for society leaving the world in such a pitiful mess for our children to inherit.

In our so-called advanced civilisation where uber-sophisticated individuals fill polished lives with sleek and shiny new toys – be that a top-of-the-range car or a new kitchen – there are certain givens that I believe should be in place in 2012.

Here's one of them: that not one human being should die through poverty-induced hunger. In a world where people can afford to have diamond-encrusted teeth (although why they might want to is perhaps another question) it can't ever be right that others starve to death for want of mere money.

Unnecessary waste: Supermarkets should not have surplus food when there is starvation in the world

In our world, and shamefully so, it has become acceptable understanding that there are parts of it, particularly African countries, that are veritable bastions of food deprivation.

Truly, starvation through poverty is depicted as a feature of far away and distant lands and so does not affect those of us fortunate to live in the world's seventh richest nation.

Food-share database to end supermarket waste: Stores boost links with charities to help the hungry
What a waste... my family is throwing away £1,800 worth of food a year

So it is that save for a two pound direct debit each month to help these poor, nameless souls - and attempt to assuage any guilt - we have no true knowledge of such deprivation.

But what about when poverty starvation is on our own doorstep in the UK? As it is now.

For those of us fortunate enough to have a surfeit of food in our lives, we cannot imagine a Britain where poverty hunger is the daily existence for millions of people.

Well it is. And it's real. Not a media creation concocted from the fevered imaginings of a left-leaning cartoonist but a hard-living reality for many. And significantly so, it should be noted, because supermarkets are now responding to this demand.

So it was that today dawned with the announcement of a new database that supermarkets and sandwich chains will be able to utilise to help direct unsold food items, gratis, towards the waiting and expectant mouths of homeless and impoverished people.

Good. It's about time. It should already have been the case, anyway. The wastage of perfectly edible - if not necessarily nutritious - supermarket food has been a scandal for eons.

Occasionally, a supermarket manager will buck the trend and, under cover of darkness, give their sell-by-date perishables to a homeless shelter, but mostly businesses have worked to make their unwanted food inedible for those who may need to turn to a skip for dinner.

According to several avid recyclers of my acquaintance, sometimes food in supermarket skips will have been doused in food colour, in a less extreme attempt to disuade foragers, and with bleach and household products in a rather more serious attempt to do so.

I am naturally suspicious of big business and supermarkets who stand to gain good PR mileage from this database scheme. And usually at very little cost compared to what a similar amount of advertising may cost them.

Take, for example, Tesco's famous computer scheme. A TV documentary estimated that you would need to collect enough vouchers from a small village to get just one computer whereas the value of goodwill it generated for the brand was incalculable.

Still, cynicism aside, I welcome this database. It was absurd health and safety regulations that rendered food fit only for disposal – and mountains of the stuff – while many people continued to go to bed hungry.

So it is, sadly, that these austere times herald the need for a nationwide food scheme to feed our poor. The spectre of Victorian workhouses draws ever closer to this Coalition, truly the most divisively 'haves and have nots' Government in decades, if not centuries.

Waste: Many of us are lucky to have surplus food, but others are not

I appreciate that Coalition Minister Caroline Spelman has been quick to add her name to this initiative but she should be wary of taking credit for something her Coalition have been architects of in the first place.

It is no coincidence that The Trussell Trust - the UK's foremost national foodbank - had only one foodbank in 2004. Yes, that's right. Just the one.

Sadly, their recently released figures tell an altogether different story. For the period of 2011/2012, the opening seasons of this dangerously remote and heinously wealthy Coalition, three foodbanks are opening per week.

The truth is, no matter how self-serving Tony Blair was – and continues to be, so let us not even consider giving him a second shot at the cherry - the UK has become a considerably more perilous place to live for millions of people since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition came to be.

So, it ill behoves any Minister, including the helium-voiced Ms. Spelman, to come over all self-congratulatory on an issue that her Government has had a serious hand in making a reality.

And what a reality. Britain 2012 – the same year we are forking out 22billion for the London Olympics – and with signs of continued over-spending, estimated at 2billion – and we have a national catastrophe on our hands.

Although you wouldn't necessarily know it because like the East End shopfronts around the Olympic village that have been given a splash of paint to make them look presentable to the waiting world, we continue to deny the extent of how bad things are in our country.

As one poverty campaigner put it:

“Perhaps one day Britain will have adverts from OXFAM on foreign shores, pleading to feed our starving.”

She says it without a trace of irony but a sorry resignation that our nation needs to wake up to what is happening in our name.

Many are complacent and believe that the need for food handouts will never happen to them, they should think again. It isn't just the welfare-dependent and unemployed who need assistance, this is a problem that is likely to effect the employed in ever-increasing numbers.

Trussell Trust Executive Chairman Chris Mould says: ‘Foodbanks are seeing people from all walks of life turning to us for help when they hit crisis. The current economic situation means that times are tough for many. Every day we meet parents who are skipping meals to feed their children or even considering stealing to stop their children going to bed hungry. It is shocking that there is such a great need for foodbanks in 21stcentury Britain, but the need is growing.’

We should be shrieking about that. It's a national scandal and yet, because it involves our most needy, who we have also rendered our most invisible, the horror has been out of sight and out of mind.

We are always addressing the manifestation of the problem rather than why it exists in the first place. It is unacceptable that 13 million people are currently operating below the poverty line in the UK while corporations and wealthy entertainers are allowed to pay minimal tax, if they pay at all.

Clearly, then, our priorities are skewed. We spend millions on toasting one of the world's wealthiest women, in her job for life, as we did with the Queen's Jubilee, and yet we have to fight to make it legal for our poor to eat leftovers.

No amount of spin conceived at No. 10 can make such a putrid state of affairs acceptable. It stinks. And it threatens to contaminate us all if left.

So, yes, I agree with food handouts, in the form of foodbanks and supermarket databases, as an immediate solution, but most certainly not a long-term one to national and global inequality.

2012 has always promised to be a dynamic year. Let it also herald the time when we dig deeper and address the real problems that exist within our me-first society.

Truly, what a wonderful legacy that would be to leave our children.

To contact The Trussell Trust: http://www.trusselltrust.org/

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2168238/Supermarkets-leftover-food-destitute-needed-place.html#ixzz2iLh91Yph