Yesterday, while sorting through a pile of receipts and unpaid bills on the kitchen bench, I found this:
It’s a receipt from a quick post-work, pre-pick-up trip to the supermarket made by the Boy Wonder last week. There are five items listed – bacon, a baguette, some beans, a green capsicum and a bag of salad leaves – because he felt like a bacon salad for dinner and “I didn’t think we had anything to eat”. Five items for $25 (that’s about US$20, GBP12 or AU$19) is not exorbitant, unless you compare it with what millions of people have to spend on food.
This week VSA is challenging people like me and you, the lucky ones who don’t have to worry too much about what they spend at the supermarket, to think about those who Live Below The Line. That means spending NZ$2.25 per person on food – about $50 for a family of four – for five days. As this story shows, it’s not easy (even when you know there’s an end in sight). There’s a great comment on this blog post, which sums it up: “I could keep that up for a while but then I’d have to go and get a latte”.
When I was a child we heard about the poor children in Africa who didn’t have anything to eat. Now those ‘poor children’ are much closer to home, with food poverty a very real problem for thousands of New Zealand families. It’s probably much the same where you are. So what do we do about it?
In New Zealand you can get involved with this organisation, which helps provide meals and clothing for kids who would otherwise go to school without breakfast or lunch, or a raincoat. You can probably also drop something into the Food Bank trolley at your supermarket. When I do this I think of my mum, who always said she liked to put ‘something nice’ into the trolley instead of a packet of rolled oats.
Doing something tangible, however small, makes the problem seem less insurmountable. But surely, as a collective of people who care about food and the sharing of it, there is something else we can do?
What do you think?