Yesterday began as a pretty normal day. The kids got up and got ready for school whilst I breastfed baby Charlie. They ate their breakfast whilst Jeremy made their lunches. In our home lunches do vary a lot from day to day. They can be leftovers or they can be sandwiches but most of the time the children leave with no less than meat and three vegetables in their lunch with fresh fruit as their primary snack. (Yes, our children will attest that processed foods are not a thing they get from us in their lunch boxes.) They each took their chance to say good morning and grab a cuddle with Charlie before their headed out the door.
That is a fairly usual morning at this point in time and it was not until later that day that I realised that, maybe, I had started to take that for granted. Sometimes it can take a solid conversation with someone working on the front line of caring for others needs to help bring you back to a sense of reality. Yesterday that’s exactly what we did, meeting with Greg Pattinson, CEO, of Foodbank SA.
According to the last Foodbank Hunger Report for every 100 Australian 15 have experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months. That doesn’t sound like that much until you calculate that this equates to 3.6 million people! Then, sixty per cent of those people experience food insecurity at least once every month. Oh, and two out of every five households experiencing food insecurity are families with children where 89% of those households have children under the age of 12. Honestly, I feel the ‘lack of food’ stats I give you should stop there before you start feeling as depressed about the situation as I have been.
But equally depressing is that the tricky part of all this is that not every persons food needs can be met by charity either. Only 37% of charities are able to fully meet the needs of their clients. This is in the face of 65,000 people per month seeking food relief. That means that a lot of people somewhere in there are going hungry and, I have to say that in the past, those people has included me. It has also included my siblings and my mother as life has not always dealt the best cards to my family.
But our charities all do the best that they possibly can. They make things stretch and work with really tight budgets to make every dollar count. Right here in South Australia, Foodbank works with 550 agencies, to provide 500,000 meals to people in need in response to a 9% increase in demand in the year prior. To meet demand Foodbank SA would need a 33% increase in food supplies to meet that demand. That really is huge but at the when all it takes is $2 for Foodbank to produce 4 meals for people in need it somehow seems possible.
Whilst Charlie played with a teddy at the end of our tour, I explained to Greg the dilemma we faced a few months ago. You see, we have a ‘no cash for comments’ policy on all things Clarke Tribe. We feel that there is no need for us to personally profiteer off what we have chosen to freely share with others. Yeah, one day when we don’t have eight children to wrangle we might find time to write a book or something but it’s about item 67 on the list well after ‘scratch yourself’ and ‘take your dang honeymoon already’. So, when we have been approached for media articles we have spoken honestly and freely without pretense.
Then, for one media piece based on my article 12 Quick Keys to Reducing your Grocery Bills, after already answering some questions, I was taken aback when the journalist made mention of payment. What!?! Hang on a minute! (I was just a little unprepared for that.) We had a discussion with the journalist which in summary was: ‘You are eligible for payment, if you forfeit it then it stays in our coffers.’ What are you supposed to do with that?
We had long since prepared for the vague possibility that this may occur with our existing media policy being very clear that any money derived from our blog must be returned in kind to our readership community or other charitable cause but we did not expect it to *actually* be a thing that would ever happen. It was a no-brainer to decide that the proceeds would be given to an organisation that needs it. That was the easy part. We threw around some ideas and decided that really to stay on theme that we were talking about food. It just made sense to donate the $600 payment to Greg’s work passion. It is truly amazing that with that money Foodbank SA can pull together $4,800 worth of groceries and, from that, provide the equivalent of 1,200 meals to those in need. Money well spent if you ask me.
Whilst we are on the topic, Foodbank is also collecting up donations, of food and money towards putting together Christmas food hampers for families in need. You can make a difference to by donating either food or money. You can make your own online donation to Foodbank SA here or you can find out more here if you wish to donate by other means. Alternately, you can check out this page to see how your workplace or local community group can run its own food drive. Isn’t Christmas about the spirit of giving anyway? Go on, get onto it now!