A few weeks ago there was a Panorama programme about food banks called Hungry Britain (click to watch it on iplayer). It brought home the very real need to feed huge swathes of our society either in crisis or longer term. People don't have enough to eat, whatever you think of the circumstances which brought about this need and whether you believe food banks are the answer the fact still remains. Teaching colleagues are struggling to teach kids because they are too hungry to learn - this is nothing new but it is very sad.
Strangely on the same day Brodie and I had a conversation about the image on a bag for life from the Co-op. Unfortunately I can't find a picture of it online #googleimagefail but it has a grid of children who all have bits for fruit as their smiles - a slice of melon for example. Brodie asked why the children had fruity faces - good question. I answered that it was to encourage people to eat lots of fruit. His answer? He said - 'surely everyone eats lots of fruit, Mum'.
And I had to explain that no, not everyone does. And not always because they don't like fruit, but often children don't eat lots of fruit because their parents or carers don't buy them fruit, or can't afford to buy them fruit. He was sort of astounded and asked me to repeat myself.
To him, a full fruit bowl and the fact my bag is always stuffed with apples, bananas and pears not to mention his beloved fruity rolls is a given.
The small town we live in has a Co-op store in which there is a donation basket for a local food bank. Whenever we buy something - we usually buy a tin of something to put in. Brodie knows the routine, we pay the cashier and he puts the tin in the food bank basket and we go about our merry way. I was hoping that by doing this Brodie and Grier would be banking the experience (pun intended) by giving them a gentle push to think about children less fortunate than themselves. I'm not sure it really means anything to them at the moment but with so many things about parenting you just hope that the message is hitting home. As they grow I'm sure we'll embrace other opportunities explore this more.
My children don't ever skip meals because there's nothing to eat, I've never had to go hungry so they can eat. Who can say which of us might find ourselves with our lives turned upside down and relying on a food bank? We can't, life can and does turn on a sixpence, but if we were struggling and there was a way to feed my family I'd have no choice but to take it. So we'll keep popping a tin or packet in when we can because we have more than we need.
There's info here about my local food bank or you can google for yours #googlesuccess.