An interesting October meeting and an eye opener into how different people live.
Whitley WI welcomed their first speaker David McDonald from the Warrington Food Bank. This Christian Charity, run by 100+ volunteers, was set up in Warrington in Dec 2012 with the aim of helping people short of cash, for various reasons, to provide food for themselves and their families. Within Warrington alone, 60 tons of food, providing 49,222 meals, were distributed last year. Vouchers which are exchanged for a bag containing of 3 days-worth of food, happen in several Warrington locations, the main depot being at Friars Green Church in Cairo Street. A huge storage warehouse has been made available, in the Riverside Retail Park at a yearly rental of £1.00, thanks to the thoughtfulness of former Mayor of Warrington Peter Carey.
Food donations come from various sources: Tesco allow food collection in their stores on 6 days a year, and Morrison’s also have the facility to collect donations. Gulliver’s World allows half-price entry on certain days if the entrant brings a food bank donation. The main sources are simply from you and me, the general public. David McDonald emphasised that “the generosity of the people of Warrington is outstanding”.
We were later treated to a talk from Penny Hennessey who represented the International Fair Trade Charity. The aim of this charity isn’t just to pay farmers a decent price for their crops, but to help build whole communities of which the farmers are only a part. Villages get a social premium to enhance the living conditions of all people in that village. The initial needs tend to be a clean water supply, then a school for their children and a health centre in that order.
One example Penny gave involved growing grapes. As payment the farmers wanted a few sheep. These sheep grazed under the vines, ate the weeds, and fertilized the soil with their excrements. In return these sheep breed, have babies also providing milk, wool and some can be eaten. Co-Operatives of farmers learn to work together for the social needs of all the village.
So next time you see a fair trade banana… there is more to it than just a banana, there is a whole society, somewhere across the sea benefitting from your choice of product in that shop.