Sat 25 Apr 2020: getting busier, getting poorer

My previous journal entry was written first thing in the morning and since cutting back on my educational schedule I’ve been much better at keeping to it. In retrospect I should have allowed time for things like rewinding and watching segments of the lectures again, doing a bit of reading around the subject, and so on, right from the start.

The food bank I’ve been volunteering at is getting busier. A lot busier. Today there were 31 jobs – mostly food parcel deliveries, but also a few prescriptions to be collected from pharmacists and a couple of shopping trips to do for people. Yesterday there were 34, and two days ago there were 40. Somewhere between 30 and 40 is the new norm. A week or so ago it was in the low 20s. When I started exactly a month ago, it was under 10 a day. Previously there were more than enough volunteers to do all the work. Now, the individual volunteers are doing more, and the admins are struggling to find enough people to make all the deliveries and to pack all the parcels.

Part of this increase will of course be because of our efforts to leaflet all around the area letting people know that we exist and what we can do for them. Some of it will be because more people are sick or living with someone who is sick, and so not going out. But the bulk of it, I am sure, will be because of people losing their jobs or earning less than normal. You’ve got to be in pretty dire circumstances to resort to using a food bank as no-one likes living on charity, and so this massive increase should be very concerning.

We’re managing so far, but I’m sure other organisations are seeing similar increases in demand, so please, if you can, volunteer locally wherever you are.

If you’re one of those who thinks that the lockdown must be extended to save lives, then please also consider that the lockdown is also causing poverty. We know that poverty is one of the most important underlying causes of disease and death. If you want to extend the lockdown, then you need to “show your working” and your argument that it will do more good than harm. If you can’t make that argument then you should just STFU and admit that you don’t actually know what’s best.

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