Needy or Greedy? When kindness becomes unkind

Lytham St Anne’s businesses and individuals have shown enormous community spirit this week in supporting the national outcry regarding suspension of free school meals during this half term. Local fish and chip shops, restaurants hotels, butty bars have offered a helping hand at lunch times this week, for children who might really go hungry without that guarantee of a school lunch.

Many members of the community have also supported a pop up food bank donation point at Hadfields DIY store, and dropped off treats to provide a few treat hampers to local families.

Whilst no ‘evidence’ of need is required to benefit from these acts of community kindness, I’ve been asked many times “how do you know which people REALLY need this help? Well, from someone who has previously operated a small discrete foodbank from their shop, I can assure you that a vast proportion of families helped were in genuine need, usually victims of universal credit delays, women and children rehoused after fleeing domestic violence, families suffering sudden death of an adult in the family etc.

Of course, there’s always a few people who who will abuse any system, but after the way the nation reacted in disgust at the lack of ongoing food support for kids who needed it most, many communities have shown kindness and strength in pulling together to feed their local children.

It’s been a heart-warming response to receive such a volume of donations to distribute among the community, and literally renews faith in humanity. We have to hope and trust that people are honest, and somewhat honourable. These initiatives are to help the needy, not fuel the greedy.

All we ask is that people who don’t really need that free lunch, or that large super family size raffle prize, don’t claim it, because that’s effectively taking the food out of other children’s mouths, as nobody really knows other people’s circumstances. There’s an awful lot of time and effort that goes into donors buying the food, volunteers sorting it out, distributing as fairly as possible, and is at the donors discretion.

After being told I’m “unfair, discriminating against single child households” I’m actually very saddened by these comments, as I have to do right by the original donors, which by my interpretation means helping as many kids as possible have a few treats.

Also this has to be done on a practical level regarding covid safety by not splitting multipacks and offering doorstep at my own time and expense, so if this doesn’t suit everyone, feel free to operate your own free raffle, foodbank, and all that it entails.

I would however like to thank all the people that have donated, and I send good wishes to all the families that we have collected food for and helped, and all the grateful raffle winners who have enjoyed winning.


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