Our post today comes from a remarkable woman Marianne Phillips who is taking on a 160 mile walk to Parliament to highlight the absolute need and importance of food banks in our society today. Here’s her story…
I am 52 years old and a single parent & grandmother. My children all grown up and flown the coup I moved to Tredegar in South Wales a year ago. Having been a single parent I know firsthand the struggles of bringing up a family on a low budget and the stress & worry that you can endure when times are hard. I can remember when my children were very little often going without meals for days at a time so my children didn’t.
When I came to Tredegar to support & be near my parents who are in their 80s I decided to get involved with the community to make new friends where I could and also maybe help others. I became a Volunteer at the local food bank here in Tredegar almost a year ago.
At the time there was a lot and still is a lot of negative press and debate regarding food banks.
Two afternoons a week I helped out at the food bank and assisted with the putting together of food parcels and spending time with the clients chatting over a cuppa. My opinion is food banks are not a negative thing they are living proof of communities getting together & supporting each other in a time of need.
The main aim is to supply 3 days of nutritional food to tie people over in a crisis. Often we receive into the food banks donations also of toiletries and cleaning products along with a variety of “goodies” for children. These are issued as “extras”. The smiles of thankfulness are endearing to say the least. We often receive little drawings and painting dropped off a few days later from Children whose parents have visited the food bank. This is such a wonderful feeling that a child took the time out to say “thank you for helping mummy & daddy” as one little girl did with Down syndrome did at Easter.
Now living in a Welsh valley town with extremely high unemployment & little hope for many I began to look closer at my community and wonder what if anything I could do “more” to help and highlight the NEED for Food Banks.
I came up with the idea of walking to parliament 160 miles as my grandfather used to tell me his story of walking with Aneurin Bevan founder of the NHS, also from Tredegar ,so what better way than to emulate the route they took to London some 70 years ago when HUNGER was again the agenda.
I aim to raise awareness for food banks and maybe change the attitude of a few that currently think they are a negative thing. They are NOT funded in any way by the government but by the generous donations of local communities to help their neighbours.
I have now made a face book page https://www.facebook.com/walkingthebreadline and I am trying to get as many likes here in the next 10 days until I begin my walk as a show of support not only to our followers on the page but also to the many Food Banks who also support us. Many of these are run by the Trussel Trust and I am trying also to raise funds for the work they do at the same time. (There is a direct giving link on the walking the breadline page). However I had a different thought about “giving” if people would like to donate and hoped maybe people would take a can or 2 of tinned food from the shopping list on the page to their own local food banks & say it’s to support “the walking the breadline walk to parliament” – after all times are hard for all in today’s austerity and our aim is to feed our neighbors. So let’s do exactly that.