Food Bank Shame. Yes I’m Talking to You The Daily Mail.

In the news today the Daily Mail state that one of their reporters, Ross Slater attended Nottingham’s Citizens Advice Bureau and told them he needed help in order to feed his two Children and Wife. The story focuses on the fact that he wasn’t asked for identification or proof of income before being handed a voucher for a food bank parcel, which would last his Family three days. Apparently, being a ‘generous’ three days worth of shopping.

20140420-124742.jpg The article from the Daily Mail today

I am writing about this issue, because it is close to my heart, and I am utterly disgusted in the article. As you can see, the parcel from the food bank is not ‘generous’ for a Family of four, it is a parcel of food, which would feed people in need of food, for energy and to protect and promote their health.

What disgusts me about this article is that The Daily Mail are, as usual missing the point. Yes this man was given a food parcel, and yes it was given without checking his identity or income.

But does it really matter?

Surely that is the point of food banks. To help those in need of food. This man lied to several people in order to gain this food for his article. He asked for help, and he got it. Surely that is a good thing? Does it matter if he is on benefits or whether he is earning 50K, the point is that he said he could not feed his Children and Wife, and they needed help.

We have an amazing Welfare State in this Country. We help everyone, no discrimination, this we should be proud of, not focusing on trying to ‘police’ hand outs and assistance.

The Citizens Advice bureau assessed this reporter and listened to him. They acted quickly and gave him a voucher so he could receive a food parcel. They deserve a pat on the back, not criticism.

Food banks often hand out food past its sell by date, some items are donated by businesses, but in fact approximately 90% of the food given out has been donated by members of the public. What does this tell us? That Communities are helping each other. Surely this is something worth celebrating?

I do not live in an ivory tower. No, I’ve never used a food bank, but I am involved in one at work. As a team we stock a food bank and hand out the food to those who need it on a regular basis. It makes me so sad that we have to do this, but if it stops a person turning to crime in order to buy food for their Children, surely this is a good thing? Hearing that someone has not eaten for four days and seeing them go dizzy in front of you is extremely difficult to deal with, and so I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like for them. Therefore I do what I can as any decent person should, and I help them by passing on the donated food items.

In my experience, people do not ask for a food parcel, they ask for help. They are often embarrassed, ashamed and uncomfortable. Why make these feeling so much worse by asking too many questions? Why not allow them to keep their dignity and give them the help they need, no questions asked. In checking proof of income, identification or other assessments, what is that going to achieve? What is going to be done with this information?! It doesn’t alter the fact that they may have children at home that are hungry.

The question should be why do food banks exist? And why are they needed? It is because people do not have enough money to feed their Families, and this is really really sad. Who are we to judge why this person does not have any money or any food? Who are we to make assessments of their income and demand proof of their bank account balance?

What is even sadder is that due to this reporters lies, it may have just stopped someone else, who was really in need of that food parcel receiving it and I think that is utterly shameful. People can lose everything, and quickly. I have witnessed it.

Daily Mail, do not judge others, but your own paper.



  1. says

    As one time user of a food bank, I couldn’t agree with you more. What the MoS did and the way in which they portrayed customers of food banks and the staff that try to help people in need was appalling. I sincerely hope (but the cynic in me doubts) that food was handed back.

  2. says

    Makes me sad to think that maybe someone actually in need of that food could of been turned away that day as they had ran out.

  3. says

    As a child i was very aware of food banks! My mum would go to charities and ask for “help” not food, just like Michelle said. Also it was hardly no questions asked, this scumbag reporter was asked several questions, and he lied his arse off.

    If the cupboard was bare these days i’d usea credit card, that i can’t afford to pay back, but although we struggle I don’t feel we are desperate or struggling enough for help. Id rather leave the food for others who need it more. That isn’t me judging anyone using FB’s its just I know this isn’t rock bottom.

    Ironically we give to food banks when we’ve something we don’t need… Like when a product is cheaper in a multi flavour pack, but we dislike one flavour. Either that or freecycle the odd bits. I’ve learnt not to waste – the DM reporter resorted to FRAUD and THEFT. Scum

  4. says

    It saddens me that in this day and age Foodbanks are even needed, like Emma above I hate to think a family just so the DM could ‘prove a point’.
    The reality is, the DM would have posted a scathing story regardless; …no checks on income and they are giving away food willy nilly…make them prove their lack of income and they are abusing human rights, and letting children starve.
    It was a no win situation from the beginning, just goes to show how far DM will go for a story

  5. says

    Good for you! I stopped getting this newspaper long ago because I was getting more and more disheartened with their reporting. If the Foodbank had refused this man food they’d have jumped on that too! It’s really sad that these Food Banks are trying to do a good thing and being maligned! It does seem to have backfired, as people have been donating to the Trussell Trust all day…the British people are actually pretty marvellous.

  6. Robert Gorman says

    growing up in Glasgow in the late eighties early nineties i was part of generation of people who’s main way of life was living off the dole and trying to scam what i could . i remember back then the ecc? food hand outs , cheese tins of meat etc, and on more than one occasion i was so skint i had to go and get some food from these people, you had to show you id to prove you were starving?? (ok I’m not slaging these organisations but folks don’t turn up hungry through choice ) and i can honestly say it filled my belly on more than one occasion , so all you people who give to food banks bravo and well done .. and the people who use them we should never feel embarrassed for taking what is freely given. So stop making folk feel bad …if theres food there then share it out …no need for id cards eh]?

  7. says

    I have a mixed view on this – I agree it shouldn’t be means tested as some of the poorest people I know earn or have earnt at the start of the tax year too much to claim benefits when circumstances change. However, I do know of people who are on benefits who claim food parcels when they are not needed and sell on the goods or use the money they were going to use of food on drugs instead.

    The welfare system is fantastic but there are always a few who will exploit it. #willynilly


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