Sally Osman interviews Jane Cooper
Community organising and anti-poverty campaigners argue that the food bank phenomenon is an attempt to deflect from the severe poverty affecting many communities. In an interview with Sally Osman the women’s co-ordinator for Food Banks North East points out that not only are food banks not the answer, they’re harming communities and families who need support.
When poverty was acute, she said, it took all hands to fight the battle. “The idea is all of us together.” She urges the idea that food banks are the answer to these problems – or actually that problems need solutions.
Jane explains that this government’s relationship with communities hasn’t been strong and that it has rejected Labour programmes and failed to grasp the severity of the problem that was already facing their party.
She agrees that hunger is a shameful and shameful thing but insists that food banks will not solve it. She says they only feed people when they are in crisis, and that the government does nothing to help those people in situations that make them destitute.
Jane believes that these problems would be dealt with better if the government was to address the underlying issues of the “narrative of working poverty, precarious work and a lack of supporting social welfare benefits.
Read the full interview here
And here’s another view –
If Peter Strang joins Food Banks North East on Monday 26 January, he’ll get one heck of a hearing – he’s been invited to speak with Tracy Balmer from the Campaign against Housing Repossession and Tariq Qureshi from the Muslim Medical Association.
Can we help?
Can you take action to help? The call is out for members of the public who could be prepared to pack some toiletries in an effort to support the people who are using food banks and supporting them in their missions for justice.
You can donate – called a ‘bag a litter’ gift – online here.
Or you can drop your litter off at any of the several drop points in the North East for a free food or coat for a child.
In the East Northumbria area you can donate at the Portrack Salvation Army Church, in Leadgate, over at St Marks Church, Leadgate, at Tarburn and Ashby and at Wanstead Church.
In the Northumberland area, you can drop at the Newgates Village Community Centre, Stauchley Church Hall, Port Errand Church, Owen Hall, Wick and St Peter’s Church, Ferryden.
In the Tees Valley area you can donate at Sheolton Church Centre, Old Stake, Annie Glen Church, Barnard Castle Presbyterian Church, St John’s Church, Farwick, Teesside Plains Mission and Riverside Church, Stockton-on-Tees.
In the Tyne and Wear area, you can donate at the Irvine Bible Church, Newcastle Upon Tyne Chapel, Open Window Baptist Church, Watling Street Baptist Church, Red Lane Baptist Church, Cinque Ports Baptist Church, The Queen Street Church, Hexham, Redcar Parish Church, and at Central Park Baptist Church, Crook.
The message is simple: the generosity and initiative of people can enable those who need it to get the help that they deserve. If you can help, please let us know.