Foodbank Drive

Have just got back from collecting food for the local food bank drive and then doing the primary sort for our suburb before the food got sent off to the 'main sort' for the city.

This week our city food bank had to close as there was no food left.

It was interesting to see what type of things people contributed:
  • *A half opened block of cheese
  • *Some old sauer kraut
  • *Many tins of goods that were past their best before date (or worse they were rusty with no label)
  • *Or people had gone out of their way to explain how to use particular items attaching labels with recipes.
  • Fresh veges and fruit
  • Healthy foods
  • Soaps
  • Baby goods
  • Thousands of tins of baked beans and spaghetti
  • Loads of dried noodles and Pasta

You could really see the people who had put a lot of thought into it and the people that really just wanted to clean out their cupboards of their old goods that were past their best before dates. Is this a metaphor for how we treat those in need in our community?

Interestingly, on my route at least, those in the more 'rich' streets seemed to conribute less than those in the low to middle socio economic streets.

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9 thoughts - add yours!:

  1. Nathan Says:

    Yeah. Possible explanations for the rich:
    The Richer people are, the further they are from extreme poverty, therefore they're less likely to empathize?
    Or, they have gotten themselves caught up in the idea that people get what they choose, so the poor could choose to be as rich as them, but are too lazy to?

    It's an interesting thing when people give to clear out their cupboards. In a way, it's kinda good, because it's better than the alternative - letting food become waste. At least it's being done?

  2. stan Says:

    absolute prejudice and bigotry Nathan

    rich people are the biggest donaters to trusts that help the poor in NZ (study taxation law and do an internship at a tax firm over the Summer and you'll see where all the money is coming from)

    they realise that putting food in food bins will only encourage the poor to spend their welfare money elsewhere, such as on cigarettes and alcohol

    no money to buy food is no excuse. anyone who cannot get work is either eligible for the unemployment benefit, sickness/invalids benefit or emergency benefit

    there's been talk on the news about families being too poor to afford to feed their kids breakfast... load of crap

    "i eat Pam's Porridge for breakfast. i get a 1.5 kg pack from Pak'n'Save for $3.00. that's enough for 30 breakfasts. that's ten cents a breakfast. i don't believe parents in NZ can't afford ten cents a day to give their own children a decent breakfast - it's half the price of one cigarette. the real problem isn't poverty, it's a lack of responsibility on the part of the parents" - Rodney Hide

    you're right the poor in NZ choose to be poor, they didn't choose to be poor in the first place but they have no excuse for staying in that position. i spent most of last year volunteering at a homeless shelter and all they care about is alcohol and couldn't be bothered getting jobs and spending their money wisely. they'll tell you to fuck off if you try giving them advice

    it's because of our welfare system it lacks incentive for anyone to try

    obviously there may be some families who aren't eligible for the DPB or other welfare in some situations, and food banks are good for that. but soon you see the people coming back have in reality been wasteful of their money and using it irresponsibly. that's one major reason i stopped volunteering at food banks and the City Mission

    don't try to sound all righteous about what you know about rich people and their values and attacking them for your stereotypical view of of what they're like. many of them have worked hard to get where they are and know suffering all too well

  3. stan Says:

    to back up my claims regarding NZ's welfare system being the cause of poverty:

  4. Nathan Says:

    Yes, that's another definite possible explanation for the lack of contributions on behalf of the rich to food banks. Since posting the previous comment, I realized the possibility that the rich contribute in other ways.

    Thanks for the reminding me that I only came up with two negative explanations, and no positive explanations. I usually try to be more balanced :)

  5. Mark Says:

    I find stan very entertaining. I think I shall dedicate [part] of a blog post to him :)

  6. Tim Says:

    Stan, you're right; we should be careful not to stereotype rich people. We should also be careful not to stereotype poor people.

    I haven't worked at a food bank or the City Mission before, but a have spoken to some beggars on the streets in the past—some of them regularly. I don't think your description would fit many of them—certainly not all of them.

    With regard to having enough money to buy food, you seem to suggest that the available benefits are sufficient. But then with regard to having incentives to try harder, you seem to suggest that having sufficient benefits is a bad thing. I'm not going to try to defend New Zealand's current welfare system. I really don't know enough about it to say anything good or bad about it (except perhaps to complain about its complexity).

    You also seem to be saying that the poor in New Zealand choose to remain poor. I really don't think it's that simple. I can think of a number of reasons that poor people might not be able to improve their situation:
    * they might not know how to break their addiction to tobacco or alcohol or P or gambling;
    * they might not be able to afford to save money by buying in bulk;
    * they might not be able to get the favourable terms for loans that richer people can get, preventing them from buying some money-saving device, like a bicycle and pump and puncture repair kit and helmet—or even worse, forcing them to take a loan that they can't afford to pay back;
    * they might not be able to get to a particular shop to buy things more cheaply, because of a disability or an obligation to care for relatives or a lack of a car;
    * or they might just not have the skills to make a workable budget.

    I feel like mentioning education again, so I will: education can help with a lot of the above, but some of them just require kindness—whether from private charity or the welfare system—even if it's just to give them an interest-free loan to buy the bike.


  7. Tim Says:

    I forgot to mention that the bike would probably need a lock, too, so it doesn't get stolen.

  8. stan Says:

    i wasn't stereotyping the poor, the homeless people on the street are nice and they'll love you if you buy them a pie for lunch, but start talking about responsibility and they're not interested. the addiction one is true and problematic but the other situations you've listed are covered by the state (eg. disabilities - my mum works in that sector - NZ has a different system to the US in case you had Michael Moore's Sicko in mind when you mentioned that example)

    the welfare system is what causes the problems... i won't go into it because you'll need to look into it (it's not complex) and how it affects society (the article i've posted above under welfare.txt is a good place to start - it talks about the DPB)... it's kinda like how you can't really become a Christian without reading the Bible (well you can, but you should eventually if you want the full picture)

  9. stan Says:

    ps. i'm not judging them as sinners, i'm judging the system that's made them the complacent people they are