Poppendiek says she admires food bank volunteers, who tend to be driven by a desire to stamp out poverty and injustice. But in the US she noticed how that radical edge dulled over time, as volunteers\’ efforts were diverted from advocacy and politics to the inordinately time-consuming logistics of running ever-expanding foodbank networks.
The gentle kindness of charity food assistance programmes has allowed public and governments alike to gloss over the underlying causes of poverty, she argues. Food banks are a \”moral safety valve\” that provide \”an illusion of safety\”. In reality, she says, they \”obscure problems of wages, access to work and mounting inequality\”.
The key lesson for the UK, she says, is simply not to go down the route of food bank welfare: \”Beware. Once you let the [foodbank] genie out of the bottle you cannot get it back in there.\”
In short, alleviation of the immiseration of the poor delays the revolution.