Every now and again I have a browse through the search terms that lead people to my blog. I have regular readers and supporters but then there are others that find their way through the search engines.
Up until January the majority of searches were for items such as specific dishes or recipes. Slowly since then that has changed. Searches are now for things like coupons, frugal food, how to manage on a budget, how to find a food bank in Ireland and that’s just a very small fraction of the theme.
Yesterday I spotted a press release from the Irish League of Credit Unions, about their “what’s left” survey from May 2013 that they carry out a couple of times a year. Crucially, 38% of respondents have put off paying essential bills because they can’t afford them and 34% (up 4% since Sept) have sacrificed spending on food to pay bills. This increase in people trying to scrimp on their food bill tallies with the increase in people visiting the blog for help/guidance/information.
Then there was the announcement from Lidl Ireland & Crosscare that they were establishing Ireland’s first mobile food bank. Which included the following information:
Over 10% of people in Ireland are affected by food poverty, which means that they simply cannot afford to provide themselves and their families with the recommended daily amounts of food.
When the news of the mobile food bank started to filter through on social media on Monday I got a thrill. It is wonderful that a large retailer has recognised that they have the ability to fulfill this need and cut down on food sent to landfill.
Yet at the same time, Crosscare is a charity, who will redistribute the food to those who need it, doing its best to help those who are in food poverty. Some of the people who search the blog looking for help, information and guidance. Lidl are just one (albeit large) retailer who have recognised that collating foodstuffs is one thing, being able to store, then transport them in a refrigerated van and meeting the costs of fuel is another.
There are many other retailers who do not contribute to this scheme yet (I’m an optimist). Hundreds of tonnes of food that will go to landfill when it could be used by those who need it most. It’s extremely interesting that the majority of the mobile food bank will operate on the southside of Dublin and I’m hoping that if facilities can be funded, the northside will also benefit in the same manner.
It shouldn’t be like this. We shouldn’t have to depend on charity to organise and distribute food to those in need. 10% of our population shouldn’t have to go without adequate nutrition. 34% of us shouldn’t have to scrimp on food to pay for bills.
If you chance across this blogpost and you’re worried about how to pay your bills and put food on the table. Please, please, put food on the table first, then pay for light and heat. If you’re in difficulty after you have paid for food and essential bills like light and heat please ask for help.
Disclosure: Both my husband and I are Crosscare volunteers but not for the food bank.