Last night the charity I am one of the project leaders for: FoodCyclehad it's official launch. We had TV cameras and newspaper reports covering us and overall it really was a great success.
However, one thing is niggling me. And here I express it....
Everyone assumes that because something is free, it must be aimed solely at those in need. The media assumed this and most people I talk to assume this. (The reality is that we only ever get a handful of 'those really in need' attend each meal. They are very welcome and it's great that they attend.) However, I have a suspicion that because getting things for free is so against our social conditioning and expectations - it is so unusual - that many people feel there should be an excuse for receiving - such as disadvantage.
It was a bit like when I tried to give away twelve pound coins to strangers. I didn't get on very well there because what I was doing was so counter culture:
You can't give it away...When we hold our meals each Friday night, the buzz in the venue is always fantastic. Everyone appears to be genuinely touched and appreciative of the giving that is happening. And the people that receive do so in the way it is intended - with warmth. (Quite often people have a flicker of guilt for 'taking' that fortunately usually manifests in a need to offer themselves as volunteers for subsequent meals!) And for me, personally, this is a huge part of what FoodCycle is about: a blatant demonstration of 'giving' and if we can infect enough people with this bug - the world will certainly be an even better place!