Where has the safety net gone?
It’s hard to believe we are more than halfway through 2017. The months seem to fly by and we are as busy as ever at The Food Chain. The number of people attending our Eating Together service has steadily increased over the last few months, with up to 20 service users attending our meals regularly each week.
Some are facing the most difficult circumstances imaginable. One service user, who has been homeless and without an income for several months was recently attacked on the street and stabbed.
Fortunately he is recovering well from his injuries. He has nowhere to stay during the day and is sometimes sleeping outdoors at night. Other times he has a floor or a sofa he can sleep on. We are not able to provide groceries for him as there is nowhere we can deliver to and nowhere he can store or prepare food. He has also recently been diagnosed with cancer and his chemotherapy cannot begin until he has a place to stay. He is waiting for a hostel place which hopefully will become available in the next few weeks. The meals this service user is able to access at The Food Chain are the only guaranteed hot food he can be sure of each week.
These are bald and hard facts.
We are not alone in caring about this man and trying to support him. There are people in the hospital and in other charities and church organisations who are trying to help him secure accommodation and get the cancer treatment he needs, as well as support him to live well with HIV.
Yet, none of us has been successful. How can it be that this is so? Do we not live in a society that cherishes and protects human rights? Where has the safety net gone?
Article 22 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states
“We all have the right to affordable housing, medicine, education, and childcare, enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill or old”.
It is incomprehensible to me that the UK is the 5th biggest economy in the world and still, every day, The Food Chain is working with people who do not have access to their basic human rights. There is something very wrong with that, and sometimes I think we have to say so. It really is not good enough.
The man I have mentioned here is always warm and friendly and very appreciative of our service. It is a pleasure to spend time with him.
We can be thankful for the small mercy The Food Chain is able to provide and the difference it makes in his life, but we must also work for more and better help to be provided. How could we not?
A recipe from 'Nourish'
Our recipe book ‘Nourish’ is packed full of delicious meals and it is always a pleasure to itnroduce them to friends, especially when they then add their own twist to the recipe! Here’s a version of the ‘Halloumi, Squash and Pasta bake’ with added chorizo. What can I say – it would have been rude to reject the extra ingredient and it was quite a treat!