Life can seem pretty grim sometimes. If you’re not careful the constant inescapable feed of news can really bring you down. We’re really lucky to live in a time when we have access to so much information. But some days it can feel like there is nothing going on but bad, sad and nasty things.
And some news stories just stick in your head. Especially when you become a parent. I guess these are mostly the stories that you can really identify with and conversely those that you totally can’t. I remember hearing about food banks for the first time a few years ago and feeling so shocked. How would I feel if I couldn’t afford to feed my family? The UK can boast of having the world’s sixth largest economy and yet people were having to go to designated places to get rations of free food and basic supplies for their babies. Who were these people? These must be people in the most extreme situations, surely? It seemed very easy to put them into the category of “people I don’t know”.
But unfortunately they might very well be people we all know, Because, according to Save The Children, 1.6 million UK children are growing up in severe poverty. Oxfam says that 1 in 5 people in this country live below our official poverty line. That’s 3 million people that do not have enough to live on. In this country.
Poverty doesn’t just affect people without jobs. Baby Bank Norfolk has researched the types of people we will be giving packages of baby supplies to and other baby banks tell us they give items to many different people: families on low incomes; women fleeing domestic violence; teenage mothers; and asylum seekers. Loads of different types of people, all facing tough times.
And so being involved with a charity such as Baby Bank Norfolk has really opened my eyes. But not just to the bad things that are happening in the world, thankfully. In the last couple of months I have seen off-the-scale generosity and compassion from busy mums from across the rich spectrum of life. Mums with frantic careers; mums with young children and hectic schedules; mums on maternity leave; a mum with seven children! Mums writing books; mums running their own businesses; mums who already probably thought they had enough on their plate.
Knowing that there are so many people willing to give up some time and wade through the endless red tape involved with setting up a charity or to be really hands on with taking in and washing donated clothes and manning our nearly new sales, has really lifted my spirits. We’ve also been inundated with offers of donated clothes and financial donations. It’s all too easy to be cynical and to think that people won’t want to be part of something like a Baby Bank but this has not been the case.
I’ve been reminded that despite the bad news stories that dominate news feeds and social media there really is so much good out there. And so much we can do with this good.
Baby Bank Norfolk helps families in need by providing them with quality preloved items donated from the community. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to find out more about what we up to, how you can help us and when our next nearly new sales are.
A post originally written for the Bump, Baby & Toddler Show Blog by Vicky Brooke, Baby Bank Trustee