In these enlightened times that have brought us that wonder of 21st-century social engineering, the foodbank, it’s gratifying to report that, without any conspicuous aid from the current British government, UK charities are ministering to poorer citizens’ cultural and intellectual as well as culinary needs. British literacy charity Booktrust has teamed up with the Trussell Trust Foodbank network to distribute books through their network – in this case, children’s picture title Super Duck by Jez Alborough.
“Books and toys are low down on priorities for families,” said Project Leader of West Norwood and Brixton Foodbank, Elizabeth Maytom. “Money will be spent on rent, energy, travel, food and sometimes school uniforms. We often try to give Christmas presents and Easter books for children but it hasn’t been easy. So a little book to take away and read at night is really positive.”
According to the Trussell Trust, “13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK … In 2013-14 foodbanks fed 913,138 people nationwide. Of those helped, 330,205 were children.” And incidentally, this is the same Trussell Trust that was allegedly threatened with closure by Conservative MP Andrew Selous, parliamentary private secretary to Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary, for supposedly politicizing poverty.
With such attitudes at work, Booktrust had better push hard to get those books out there before even the foodbanks are taken away. No wonder there are 13 million on the breadline.