Outrage over food banks closing for Queen’s funeral
Several UK food banks will remain closed on the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on September 19, in a move that has sparked anger among some.
The announcement of the food bank closures comes as thousands of hospital appointments, funerals, museums, supermarkets and theater performances have already been canceled for Monday and amid rising inflation and high costs.
The Stoke-on-Trent food bank was among the first on Tuesday to announce the decision to close its three distribution centres. Branches in East Elmbridge, East Grinstead, Grantham, Ringwood and South Sefton were among others to follow suit.
Keynsham in Bristol also said there would be no food bank sessions at the Key Center on September 19 (Monday).
The decision comes after the government announced the day will be a public holiday to allow people across Britain to pay their respects to the Queen, when she will be given a full state funeral to honor her lifetime service.
Several social media users expressed anger and dismay at the decision, asking why it was important to close food banks amid the cost of living crisis.
“Closing a food bank for the Queen’s multi-billion dollar funeral is heartbreakingly ironic,” said Twitter user Joshua Jones.
Another user, podcaster Jess Davies, said the Queen would find the decision ridiculous.
“Closing a food bank. Cancer appointments are cancelled. Parliament is out for four weeks because of the cost of living crisis. I’m not too sure that’s a respectful way to treat the British people and I’m afraid the Queen will find it ridiculous too,” she said.
People’s backlash forced the Trussell Trust, a not-for-profit organization that runs a national network of food banks, to defend independent decisions by distribution centers and warehouses to close for the day.
A spokesman for the trust said most of the charities were independent and were given the option to close or stay open on a day of national mourning.
“All food banks are independent but we sent an email saying it’s a holiday and they can decide what to do,” the spokesman said.
“It really depends on the local needs on site, volunteers will know if it’s particularly quiet on a Monday or if it’s a busier day.”
However, the outrage of some people has led some food banks to back off their decision to close.
The Trussell Trust’s Wimbledon branch deleted its tweet announcing the closure and said “due to the overwhelming support we have received we now have volunteers to run our session on Monday as usual”.
“The food banks in our network run sessions on different days and at different times,” said Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust.
“Food banks are best placed to make the right decision for their communities and will ensure that everyone who needs support has access to it, as they do every holiday.
“As each food bank is an independent charity, we would encourage people who need support to contact their local food bank to check their opening hours.”