Look at it this way - April 26, 2013

A food collection point

A food collection point

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If you have ever gone hungry - really hungry - you don’t forget it in a hurry. Nor those who helped.

The Trussell Trust says four times as many people now use its food banks - including the redundant and those hit by welfare cuts.

There are no Trussell Trust food banks locally but plenty of other food banks run by the kindness of strangers, charities, churches caring enough to get stuck in.

So we don’t pass the drop point at Asda, Fleetwood, without adding some cans or packets. Not when you remember what it felt like to run out of food or eke out supplies.

Dad was in and out of work in my childhood, always tilting at union closed shops. Once in work he had a penchant for bespoke suits at the cost of kitting out his kids or wife. Our togs were often sewn or knitted by our mother from re-used wool or recycled materials. Her mother did the same with gunpowder bags from wartime work in munitions. Turned them into sheets. Imagine if you smoked in bed? “We were stained yellow by explosives,” she recalls. I just reeked of mothballs.

Stand out memories include the Christmas relatives turned up with donations from their own food cupboards- including cans swollen with age. We feasted on bloated beef and canned peaches, washed down by condensed milk. The corned beef had a longer shelf life than dad who died at 41 with £2 to his name, no life insurance, pension and having cancelled the mortgage protection policy. Tough times.

We had toast or porridge but, boy, would we have loved the free breakfasts of today’s primary schools which will turn out healthier, happier kids likely to attend and learn more.

We discovered the joys of free school dinners, elated by a sweet course, the prospect so bemusing one brother he mistook vermicelli for ants.

And the day the Lions Club turned up on our doorstep asking for donations for festive hampers for the needy and returned a few days later with one just for us - we were in seventh heaven. Hand-outs, yes. Poverty of spirit, no.