Thursday, 6 December 2012

Sociology society supporting the local food bank

Posted by Emma Head

In this post one of our second year students, Nicola Edwards, reflects on the decision the Keele Sociology society made to support the Stoke-on-Trent food bank.

It has become impossible to ignore how the Government’s recent austerity measures have impacted upon local people. The previously comfortable are now facing hardship, the vulnerable are facing desperation. This is the reason the Trussel Trust Food Bank opened in Stoke-on-Trent this May; demand has been so high that an additional food bank opened early November in Newcastle-under-Lyme. In 2010 there were over 16,000 children living in poverty, this was just under 30% of the 0-19year old population. Stoke-on-Trent food bank testify that this has risen dramatically since the Indices of Deprivation report was released in 2011, ranking Stoke-on-Trent 16th in the list of 50 most deprived areas.

Despite such worrying statistics it was the personal stories of those who have experienced poverty that touched the newly formed Keele Sociology Society. After discussing how I had experienced needing to skip meals as a new mum ten years ago, due to rent and childcare costs higher than my wages, and hearing the stories told by Amy who volunteered with her local food bank and had seen first-hand why so many had to turn to their food bank for support, we knew as a group we had to do something.

Spurred in to action we visited the food bank and the society set to work arranging a two day collection on campus at Keele. All of the committee members rallied around to raise awareness of the food bank and the society’s food drive while society members showed their commitment to such a worthy cause by enthusiastically collecting in the freezing cold, volunteering their time and donating food. Together we collected 421 items of food and £53 in spare change (given to the food bank for when supplies of a particular item are low). Each food parcel supplies 3days food and would cost in the region of £28. Our donation will go towards feeding around 30-40 people for 3 days this winter. A small dent when you consider the food bank has already given out over 2000 food parcels, feeding approximately 6000 people since May. However, the food bank relies upon donations and volunteers only. Our collection, plus others like it in schools, churches, and supermarkets, is what makes the service possible and simply enables those most vulnerable to eat.

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