We all love freebies. Well most of us do. Some of us are slightly proud… or a lot proud.
About a week or so ago, I posted on the idea of Free Store. It’s a concept I feel more and more passionate about. I just caught up on the last two nights of Campbell live and after Monday’s report was stoked to hear it getting press (thus creating an awareness of poverty issues in NZ), and by Tuesday’s report, I was angry at the response.
It’s so easy to judge.
Someone tries to come up with a way of giving the people opportunity to be blessed with a little extra at no cost. It’s extra that would have gone to the dump (don’t even get me started on waste issues). Free Store is a great initiative. But the overwhelming response is that of criticism. There’s the criticism that people standing in line waiting for their blessing are fat smokers who don’t need food. Oh but hold on a minute… did someone say obesity was an issue in NZ? I’m not a professional but why pay $2.50 for a head of broccoli when you can get a bag of chips for less than $1? What is with that? Why are we paying GST on healthy food? If they want us to eat better than surely the better food has to be more accessible?!
Of course there are users and abusers everywhere. I heard a couple of people a few weeks ago complaining that beneficiaries are people who only use the money to buy smokes and alcohol. That is NOT the story across the board. There are solo parents struggling. There are students struggling. Gone are the days of free education. When I was studying, I used to refuse to go to the doctor. Why pay so much money when you only have so much for rent and expenses? It’s hard enough trying to find a job in this market and I hear story after story of people getting made redundant and having to apply for the benefit to keep themselves and their families afloat.
What makes me really sad is that the government response is “we gave you a tax cut and gave you an extra $25 in the pocket per week. The way this grocery prices are, $25 isn’t even enough for two meals. What a pathetic answer to a growing issue. We’re one of the worst countries in the OECD for child poverty rates. This govt want to make sure we can become independent and earn lots to support ourselves, taking us out of our “welfare state” image. I understand that, but it’s a huge assumption that everyone is able to find a job high paying enough to support their families. It’s an assumption that there are enough of those jobs around.
There’ll be more thoughts to come I’m sure but for now there’s this…
“He’s shown all you people what’s good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To Act Justly
To Love Mercy
And to Walk Humbly with your God.”