Louise, one of the Group Organisers of the Whites at Beltane 2015, wrote about her group’s work to support the local community by donating to a food bank…
Sadly the rise of food banks, like those managed by Trussell Trust, and those needing support from them is no longer news to most of us. Hunger is not just a third world problem. Today people across the UK will struggle to feed themselves and their families. Redundancy, illness, benefit delay, domestic violence, debt, family breakdown and paying for heating during Winter are just some of the reasons why people go hungry.
For some people who are not aware, the Beltane Fire Society is a not for profit charity, however we are much more than just that – we are also a mini community within a community. Being lucky enough to Group Organise (GO) Whites this Beltane, we wanted to be all about the community and connect the other groups to the May Queen. We decided to do this by allocating a White to each group.
Once our group was in place, the possibility of doing a group food bank donation was suggested by the lovely Katie, and in further discussion we decided to open this up to all of the other groups that were participating this year. As we had allocated Whites this was the avenue we used to spread the word. We were very specific that it was an entirely voluntary donation and not something they were expected to do. The generosity that was given by the Beltane members was incredible.
Getting the donations to the food bank was delayed post-Beltane for various reasons, however recently we went along with two of our Whites, John and Hannah, to drop of the donations. We chose the North West Edinburgh food bank partly due to the Beltane Fire Society’s office and stores being located within this area and also because Calton Hill, where Beltane takes place, is also within this area. The volunteers at the food bank were lovely and welcoming, taking the time to explain the process of what would happen with the donated food. They further explained that everyone they help has been referred to them, that they record the personal stories/experiences of those currently in need of assistance and keep accurate figures of those accessing the service in an attempt to keep accurate numbers.
The food banks run on the goodwill and generosity of everyone in a community. Their biggest donation method is by setting up donation sites at various big name supermarkets, in which two thirds of the total number of shoppers will donate. Other donations are supplied from various groups and charity events. Some people prefer to donate financially and others choose to give up their time to volunteer for the food bank.
As Group Organisers, we are incredibly grateful for the Beltane community for their support and generosity in helping us make this idea to help a wider community become a reality.
Thank you, you lovely wonderful people.