Difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’ at the food banks

From: Keith Wigglesworth, Mead Way, Highburton, Huddersfield.

ON seeing the photograph accompanying the article by Mark Russell on food banks (The Yorkshire Post, April 26), my first reaction was to put pen to paper. My second reaction was to think “hold on, this could be somewhat controversial”. My third reaction was to think that this needs to be said.

Of the 900,000 food bank parcels given out, how many were given to those in desperate need of them? I specify “need” as opposed to “want”, as I believe that many of the “something for nothing” brigade will have jumped on the bandwagon in order to get a free handout.

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Many of the genuine needy will, as Mark Russell points out, be too embarrassed to ask for help, while the “wanters” will be there in droves for free food to go with their beer, fags and Sky TV.

I looked in amazement at the articles shown in the photograph and am of the opinion that the majority of items come into the “want” category. Where are the staple provisions? None to be seen, other than Penne, which many would have no idea how to turn into a filling meal. Basic, inexpensive food items can be made into deliciously tasting, highly nutritional meals.

Only yesterday, my wife and I produced an excellent meal from tinned tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and potatoes, with a little bit of chicken. But it needed a little effort as it wasn’t pre-prepared.

Instead of handing out food willy nilly, organisations such as the Salvation Army – and I am not denigrating the work they do – would have a greater impact by handing out staple food items and educating beneficiaries as to what can be achieved.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to produce a filling and nutritional meal by turning vegetables into soup. My wife and I often do this as, being on a fixed pension, have to cope with rising prices too.

From the plethora of cooking programmes on television, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of producing low-cost meals from basic foods, and low-cost doesn’t have to mean bland.

Mark Russell also commented on the fact that 42 Anglican Bishops and 600 clergy have signed an open letter about the hunger crisis, but only recently I noticed on an antiques programme that a church was sitting on silverware valued at £100,000.

Perhaps if this was sold, along with many other items the Church of England possesses and the money used to educate the “needy” on producing inexpensive meals, the results would be a vast improvement on any amount of posturing and letter signing.