27 February, 2021

Foodbanks: Food and Hope | practice English with Spotlight

Welcome to Spotlight.

I’m Katy Blake.

And I’m Bruce Gulland.

Spotlight uses a special English method ofbroadcasting.

It is easier for people to understand, nomatter where in the world they live.

Charlotte was 21 years old.

She was a student in the United Kingdom.

And she had very little money.

She had grown up without a family.

Now, she was struggling.

She was trying to get an education.

She attended school during the day, and sheworked at night.

But then, she lost her job.

To survive, Charlotte sold everything sheowned.

For days, she ate very little food.

She was becoming sick.

Finally, she looked for help.

Someone in her local government told her aboutfoodbanks.

She learned that at a foodbank, she couldget food for free! Food is one of the most basic human needs.

But around the world, there are many people, like Charlotte, who do not have enough food.

In some communities, foodbanks meet this basicneed.

Today’s Spotlight is on foodbanks.

Foodbanks are non-profit organisations.

They collect and store food to give to peoplewho need it.

All of the food at a foodbank is donated.

Individual people give food or money to supportthe foodbank.

Farms may also give food that they cannotsell.

And food companies may do the same thing.

This food may be damaged a little bit.

Or it may be a kind of food that people didnot want to buy.

At the foodbank, workers sort the food, andinspect it, to make sure that it is safe to eat.

Then, the foodbank gives the food to peoplewho need it.

In countries around the world, there is agreat need for foodbanks.

The European Federation of Food Banks is anorganization of foodbanks in Europe.

It says that in 2012, European foodbanks gaveaway 388, 000 tons of food.

That is about 776 million meals.

In the United States there is a similar situation.

Feeding America is the largest foodbank organizationin that country.

In 2010, Feeding America studied how manypeople they helped.

The study showed that Feeding America providedfood to about 37 million people that year.

In South Africa, the organization “FoodBank South Africa” has been working since 2009.

FoodBank SA gives away food in two ways.

First, they give food to local organizationsacross the country.

These local organizations give food to peoplein their area that need it.

At the same time, these organizations offerother kinds of help.

Cordelia Woniwe is one woman who gets foodfrom FoodBank SA.

She cares for 11 children.

These children are poor and they do not haveany other family.

She told the SABC news organization, “They helped me so much.

I get bread, vegetables and rice – threetimes a week.

” But FoodBank SA also gives food in anotherway.

FoodBank SA has restaurants.

At normal restaurants, people pay for otherpeople to cook them a meal.

This makes eating at a restaurant more expensivethan cooking at home.

But FoodBank SA’s restaurants are not likenormal restaurants.

At the FoodBank SA restaurants, people payvery little money – even less than the cost of the food! However, they get a complete meal – includingmeat and vegetables.

These restaurants are open 5 days each week.

In 2013, Foodbank SA provided more than 220, 000meals each month.

The idea for FoodBank SA’s restaurants camefrom Brazil.

In Brazil, the government runs restaurantstoo.

These restaurants started after Lula Da Silvabecame the president in 2003.

Lula Da Silva started many programs to endpoverty.

One of these programs was called “Zero Hunger”.

Zero Hunger opened simple restaurants.

Anyone was welcome in these restaurants.

But the cost was very small.

The restaurants offer good, healthy food threetimes a day.

And they are very popular! Carlos Henrique Siqueira is the manager ofone of the restaurants.

He told the radio program Marketplace, “This program is necessary because of theups and downs of the economy.

One day I may need this if I am unemployed.

Tomorrow you may need it.

” Remember Charlotte’s story from the beginningof the program.

The foodbanks in Charlotte’s community areoperated by a large national organization.

But local Christian churches support them.

And the workers are all volunteers – theyare not paid for their work.

The foodbanks operate like a store.

But people do not pay for the food.

Instead people use a special piece of paper, called a voucher.

To get a voucher, a person must talk to adoctor or social worker.

These experts decide whether a person needsthe foodbank.

This system prevents fraud and corruption.

It stops people who do not need the food fromtaking it.

At first, Charlotte was not sure that shewanted to go to a foodbank.

She felt shame.

She worried that people would judge her.

She wondered: “What if people see me gointo or return home from the foodbank? Would they recognize that I am poor and needfood?” But finally she decided to go.

And she found that it was much better thanshe expected.

The workers at the local foodbank did nottell anyone that she had visited the foodbank.

And they put her food in normal food bags- so people would not know Charlotte had received her food from the foodbank.

Charlotte was thankful.

The local foodbank had helped her throughthe crisis.

The foodbank had a big effect on Charlotte.

So she decided to help too.

She began working there, as a volunteer.

The foodbank did not pay her for this work.

But she enjoyed helping other people.

Then, something surprising happened.

The organisation that operates the foodbankasked Charlotte to tell her experiences on a national radio program.

She agreed.

Now, she did not feel shame about her experience.

Instead, she was happy to tell other peopleabout this important part of her community.

There is an English expression: “There isno such thing as a free meal”.

This means that a person always has to paysomething for a meal – money, time or respect.

But with foodbanks, this is not true.

Foodbanks offer food to people who reallyneed it.

And with that food, foodbanks offer a chancefor a person’s life to change.

The writer of this program was Michael Coleman.

The producer was Luke Haley.

The voices you heard were from the UnitedStates and the United Kingdom.

All quotes were adapted for this program andvoiced by Spotlight.

You can listen to this program again, andread it, on the internet at www.



This program is called, ‘Foodbanks: Foodand Hope’.

We hope you can join us again for the nextSpotlight program.



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