I read a news piece last year about this boy who came up with the idea of putting stickers on certain items in the supermarket that said “FOOD BANK”.
The idea was to increase donations to food bank baskets in supermarkets, the problem being that shoppers forget about contributing to the basket until it’s too late, they’ve done their shop and they’re leaving. The sticker system would remind shoppers about the food bank and nudge them towards the most-needed and helpful items.
I’ve never seen this sticker system implemented anywhere and I don’t understand why – it is a stroke of genius!
Because it’s easy to forget to give to food banks. And it’s impossible to fathom the massive scale of donations that are needed, all the time. So remembering as you go round the supermarket or remembering to bring stuff in for those boxes they leave at schools… that’s all very well but none of it feels very efficient. It’s not just about relying on kindness – we’re all bloody kind – it’s about relying on people’s memories and if mine is anything to go by, God help you.
You can of course add food bank gift voucher things to your online shop, (you can at Ocado, I imagine other stores are the same), but I was also cruising round the internet wondering if my local food bank in Islington would accept a supermarket order. No, we don’t want that, it said – and prompted me instead to donate monthly via Bankuet.
Through Bankuet you can make a one-off donation or set up a direct debit and then the food bank can buy the most-requested or in-demand goods for the demographic of the particular area.
I would love it if I could pay my taxes and then confidently leave child poverty and hunger to the government to sort out, but I’m not sure that it’s wise to leave the care of society’s poorest children totally to the caprice of politicians and policy. One incumbent may not consider it to be their job to feed the poorest children year-round, another may want to but aren’t able to do the maths. I read somewhere that it’s a “shame” that food banks have to exist and I thought yeah… I see what you mean, but let’s not use the word shame, let’s just consider them to be a form of direct, practical giving.
A lot of people say the need for food banks is a scandal, but I don’t think so. Does the existence of food banks mean that we have failed? Or does it mean that we have succeeded in responding to a problem? There ought to be more food banks in my view: bigger, better, open daily with targeted donations of things that people really need.
There will always be a certain percentage of society that needs urgent help and families fall through the cracks so quickly: just because it hasn’t happened to you or me doesn’t mean it couldn’t. And if it did, I’d want to live in a world where there were food banks, contributed to by rich ladies setting up direct debits.
I set up my direct debit to Bankuet today and, yes, I am virtue signalling. Why not set one up to your local food bank via Bankuet and then virtue signal in the comments box below? Honestly, it feels great.