The head of a Buxton food bank has hit out at Edwina Currie’s comments, after she claimed food aid didn’t help people, but instead perpetuated their problems.
Cath Sterndale, who runs High Peak Nightstop, said she “totally disagreed” with the former Tory MP who claimed this weekend that food bank users spent their cash on tattoos and dog food.
Cath, whose service operates from United Reform Church, on Hardwick Square East, said: “Like everything in life, there’s always going to be someone taking advantage. But I’d say that for every 100 people we help, 99 are in genuine need and my main concern is getting help to them.”
Edwina, of Chinley, accused food banks of not providing solutions for users who have long term issues such as alcoholism, tweeting: “Some need real help, not sticking plaster tins of soup.”
Cath responded: “We help maintain a better standard of living while other agencies deal with the other issues, whether they’re unemployed, on probation or an alcoholic.
“It’s intended to be a short, sharp intervention before the relevant agencies intervene. I think it’s essential in every community that we pull together and look after those in dire need. It can take a while for benefits to be arranged. It really infuriates me that people can be in denial.”
Last Saturday, the former junior health minister posted on Twitter: “Food banks don’t solve problems. They just ensure people go on living with problems. For decades.”
On Sunday, she criticised councils for providing food banks with funding, describing it as “crazy” and “a real abrogation of responsibility”.
Cath replied: “Each to their own, but absolutely anybody can find themselves in distress at any time. Food banks cut down on crime too. Users have told us that they would have had to shoplift for food without us, so we’re providing a service to the community.”