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Giving rather than giving up this Lent

‘What are you giving up for lent?’ This is one of the questions no one wants to hear this year. Instead, to turn it into a positive, I’m choosing giving rather than giving up this year.

My favourite quote this year is: ‘We’re all facing the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat.’ Annoyingly, I can’t remember who first said it.

Some people, like myself, have been very lucky in the past 12 months. I’m in a decent financial position, with a nice place to live. Others, have not been so fortunate.

Lent is traditionally a period of reflection. This makes it fitting to take some time to think about social injustices and ways to improve the situation, while taking small steps to make a difference.

After the success of Foodbank Advent last November run by the UK Money Bloggers Community, I have decided to support my local foodbank again. I’ll explain my reasoning and how you can get involved too in this post. There are also details of how you can get involved if would like to take part.

  1. What’s the point in giving rather than giving up?
  2. Why have I chosen to support foodbanks?
  3. How can I get involved?
  4. What if I’m shielding or not comfortable going to supermarkets?

What’s the point in giving rather than giving up?

For me, giving something up at the moment is inherently negative. Life is full of sacrifices at the moment – very necessarily of course- so I’m in no rush to add to that.

Influencers may tell you how much better they feel after giving up refined sugar. At the same time they’ll be slamming diet culture in a caption to a Instagram picture of them posing in a bikini on a beach somewhere. If that works for you, then go for it, but personally, I’m not going to deny myself the odd chocolate bar if I fancy it.

Therefore, I’m looking to create something positive out of Lent this year instead. I have the Plutus Foundation to thank for the idea of using this period to support charity and your local community.

With this in mind, I’m going to complete #FoodbankLent. A quick google search suggests this isn’t already a done thing, but I’d be very surprised if I’m the first person to do this – in fact, I’m certain I’m not.

The premise is simple, for every day of Lent (40 days in total) I’m going to put aside an item that my local foodbank needs. After Easter, I will donate the contents of the box to my local foodbank.

Of course, this isn’t going to change the world or even my local community. But, if it helps even one person or family, then I’ll consider it a success.

Why have I chosen to support foodbanks?

In the past 12 months unemployment levels have soared and more people have fallen below the poverty line. With another lockdown starting in England and the Covid-19 pandemic looking set to continue throughout winter and into the spring, these problems will only be exacerbated.

The Trussell Trust – the main charity that runs foodbanks – has predicted foodbank usage will be up 61 percent. The ongoing debate around free school meals will also increase the problem as many children will be left without decent food in the school holidays.

Recent reports have shown queues outside foodbank lasting hours, as demand has surged.

Foodbanks do have their controversies. Many argue their very existence is the result of government failings and that there shouldn’t be a need for them in a developed society. I do agree that there should not such a need for foodbanks in the UK and they certainly don’t solve the problem of food poverty.

However, currently people are relying on them and they provide a vital service to people in need. This simple activity could make a real difference to a struggling family.

How can I get involved?

Anyone can get involved. All you have to do is fill up your own box with useful items. Put in one item a day for the duration of Lent and take it to your local foodbank once you have completed your box.

You don’t have to go to the supermarket and buy one item every day, you can of course buy in bulk and just put one item in your box each day. Given we’re currently in lockdown, this is the option I’ll be taken. Going to the supermarket every day doesn’t seem very Covid-19 friendly!

Share your pictures on social media using the hashtag #FoodbankLent to encourage other people to join in. You can also tag me in your posts (@Katie20Percent) and I’ll share as many as possible!

What if I’m shielding or not comfortable going to supermarkets?

There are plenty of other ways you can get involved if you’re not going to supermarkets, so don’t worry!

Many online supermarkets have ways for you to contribute if you’re currently shopping online.

Morrisons – you can buy a £10 food bank voucher that goes towards 50 of the foodbanks in the UK that are most in need

Waitrose  – you can add a digital green token at checkout, as you do in-store

Tesco – you can convert Clubcard vouchers to a donation to the Trussell Trust

Or, if you prefer, you can make a financial donation to your local foodbank or the national Trussell Trust organisation.

If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Are you doing anything for Lent this year? Are you going to start giving rather than giving up? Share your thoughts below!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media @Katie20Percent to keep up to date with all my latest posts and content!

By The Twenty Percent

Hi I'm Katie and I use my blog to help young people take control of their personal finances.

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