We live in an unfortunate time in the UK. Many people are out of work and, instead of the government trying to help them in their time of need and get them a job, it feels as though the unemployed are being punished. Furthermore, minimum wage jobs are seeing a great increase in taxes and many can’t support themselves or their families properly and so are forced to rely on charity.
Someone who I live with, I have found out, uses food-banks. Herein lies the meat of this article, but I’ll have to do some explaining. I live in student accommodation with 5 other people and this one person has been a nightmare from the start. She didn’t pass her year at university (which is the 3rd time she has failed a year at university but, somehow, she still thinks completing a degree is the right thing for her) and, as a result, she gets no student loan and her dad, who had been supporting her and his other children while they were at uni, refused to give her any more money.
She has no grasp on how to be careful with money and how to budget so we were all very worried that she wouldn’t be able to pay rent, but fortunately she got a job before she ran out of money completely and her dad agreed to front her the money for rent until she got her first paycheck. As her housemate, I think this is important information to know, even if she wants to keep it private. Like it or not, it does affect us.
However, when a few of my housemates were discussing, with alarm and, to my eyes, disgust at the fact that this girl was using foodbanks it really took me back. I don’t think anyone should be forced to have to use food-banks. It’s not something they’re proud of, it’s not something they enjoy; it’s something they need to do to survive, and the way people look down on it really rubs me the wrong way.
With this knowledge I look back at the “gossiping” about her paying rent and things like that with shame, because I wouldn’t want that to be said about me. I think people who are having a hard time deserve to be helped, or, at the very least, deserve to be treated with respect. I don’t really know how to put into words how angry little things like this make me. Gossipping about it felt wrong and I didn’t know how to react. It is just a shame that people, people who you consider your friends, don’t feel they can reach out to you for help. Sorry for rambling.