Fans Supporting Foodbanks ‘Mobile Pantry’ scheme is letting those on poor incomes access a healthy diet for barely a tenth of the cost the government is paying firms to provide a few scraps
The government and private firms have rightly been lambasted for providing just a few potatoes and tins of beans to feed poor children to replace £30 food vouchers withdrawn by the Tories.
The scandal provoked outrage after footballer Marcus Rashford and other activists pointed out pictures of appalling ‘hampers’ that were not even enough for basic subsistence:
But one group of football fans is putting the Tories and their private providers to shame with the ‘Mobile Pantry’ Scheme it launched last autumn – and which is showing just what can be done if the profit motive is removed and those organising it have the best interests of children and families central to what they are doing.
The Fans Supporting Foodbanks (FSF) Mobile Pantry scheme allows local people to buy a substantial selection of food and is rolling out at seven sites across Liverpool, for just £3.50. And ‘substantial’ is an understatement for what the pantry van provides:
Members pay a subscription of £3.50 a week and the food is sourced by the scheme separately from its foodbank donations, using the subscriptions to generate bulk-buy discounts and supplementing the food available with ‘FareShare’ food, which collects surplus food from supermarkets and redistributes it to community schemes.
The Liverpool scheme is run in conjunction with ‘Your Local Pantry‘
FSF tweeted the picture today of what members are able to pick up from one of its Liverpool sites, alongside one of the government’s paltry outsourced ‘hampers’:
FSF is also promoting, along with co-founder and local MP Ian Byrne, the #RightToFood petition calling for the government to make access to adequate nutrition a legal right for everyone in the UK, which SKWAWKBOX encourages all readers to sign and share.
Engaging and empowering communities
FSF co-founder Dave Kelly said, at the Pantry scheme’s launch:
Five years ago, people using foodbanks tended to be on zero-hour contracts, in low-paid jobs, earning minimum wage or on Universal Credit. Those people still use foodbanks, and we will continue to help them, but now we are seeing foodbank users who didn’t use or need a foodbank previously but because of furlough and job losses their circumstances have changed.
This pantry is the correct route to go down because it enables us to engage and empower local communities. The mobile pantry idea is about challenging food insecurity and we’re doing something a bit different than a foodbank. We can go into communities where there are no supermarkets or choice, and people can pick up food of high nutritional value.
For more information or to join as a member, visit the Liverpool mobile pantry page. To find your nearest pantry in another part of the country, or to start one in your area, click here to go to the Your Local Pantry site.
And please take as many of these important steps as you can before you go:
- sign and share the #RightToFood petition
- share this article to shame the government into at least imitating genuine humanity
- ask your local MP to sign Ian Byrne’s Early Day Motion on the Right to Food
- email Henry Dimbleby of the government’s ‘National Food Strategy Team’ here and ask him to recommend to Govt that the #RightToFood is made a legal right for all when the team reports later this year
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