Action. A little goes a long way. This month we have chosen to encourage everyone to look into the different charities they can support and donate to. We got in touch with the Trussell Trust Foodbank in Arnold, Nottingham to find out more about the importance of donations.
PERIOD POVERTY: As seen at Arnold Foodbank.
Arnold Foodbank has been serving the community of the north of Nottingham since the end of 2012.
In that time we have given out 225 Tonnes of food in nearly 13,000 parcels.
During that time we have seen a lot of changes because of the benefits system and the acceptance of foodbanks and the normalising of them in society. Although I am still surprised when someone comes in and says “I didn’t know places like this existed”.
When we opened in December 2012 we were surprised how instantly the need became apparent. Other foodbanks had warned us that it could take a few weeks before we saw our first client – on the contrary – we have never had no-one at one of our sessions.
This all changed in 2016 with the release of “I, Daniel Blake”. Suddenly people were more aware of what Foodbanks did and what support they could give – and indeed the reason they were needed. The iconic scene in which the young mum gets caught shoplifting Sanitary Towels was key in altering the course of future donations. Within weeks our supply of STs and tampons exceeded what we had given out in the previous 3 years. And we became bolder in discreetly asking if there was a need – the relief on the face of some of our clients was clear. We also started leaving a boxful in the seating area to allow people to help themselves (much more dignified than having them chosen for you).
I think there has also been a shift in talking about periods over recent years. Having more women in parliament, open discussions about VAT ratings and talks about reusable, more cost-effective products, have all contributed to the lessening of embarrassment.
I have seen first-hand the effect of girls not being able to access basic products. When I visited Zambia we met young teen girls who could access school 1 week a month – they could walk 2/3 hours to get to school during their period – even if schools were closer disposable products were too expensive (about £5 for 12 tampons). Being able to source or make for themselves re-usable pads or pants was a life changer.
Something that is so basic for every menstruating person should be readily available wherever you are in the world.
Trussell Trust Foodbank Arnold, Nottingham
Foodbank collections are so easy to do and the good they do for other people is priceless. We have both previously organised foodbank donations and encourage everyone to get involved. You can read more about this on our action page, as well as finding links to The Trussell Trust website which will help you get in touch with your local food banks. Head over to our Instagram for a step-by-step guide to food bank donations: