Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Poems for Hastings Foodbank

Carole Benton found plenty to interest her, and a good cause to support, in Dee Howard’s Foodbank Britain – a poetry pamphlet produced to raise funds for the Hastings Foodbank.

I know Dee. She is a kind-hearted lady with a huge sense of community and local resources. Her husband is the former local Labour councillor Mike Howard. She is also a talented writer – journalistically and, now, poetically. I know she has written for children and she has an open and wry wit which means that she is very approachable in her prose.

I was glad to purchase this booklet to send money directly to the Foodbank – there are only so many bags of pasta, boxes of cereal and rolls of toilet paper that you can donate over time without feeling that you are stuck in a rut.

The poems are topical. They describe the first-world preoccupations prior to Lockdown that will come back as we unlock and return to the night-time problems that keep us awake, that we know we are powerless to prevent. Flooding, Homelessness, Ill Health, Violence and (subsequent) Poverty.

That sounds very serious, but a lot of these poems, including the limerick about a cat, are humorous and light. By laying out the circumstances that confront citizens of the UK, and the rest of the world, in a factual and stark reality, but by describing them truthfully, she shows us a blameless set of ways in which people are challenged.

In describing the way in which people sleep out overnight to publicise the plight of the homeless, or draw attention to hidden health conditions, or even the minutiae of day-to-day family constraints, we all empathise and recognise those circumstances as common to us all.

I urge you to buy this booklet. You will enjoy the contents. You will recognise the scenarios. You will internalise the conflicts. You’ll find the style of writing easy and open. Best of all, you will give your hard-earned income to a cause which we all hope we will never need to call upon for our own needs.


You can buy a copy of Dee’s book by emailing her your name and address and paying her through PayPal. Once in PayPal send the payment to her email address and click ‘friends and family’ as the reason. The book costs a minimum £3 plus 70p postage.

When the coronvirus struck, Hastings Foodbank went from opening only four-five hours a week to 9-5 opening, Monday to Friday. It is currently spending £1,000 a day to meet burgeoning demand. While receiving some grants, it is also dependent on the generosity of the public. HOT plans soon to publish an account of the work of the foodbank.



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Posted 12:23 Saturday, Jun 13, 2020 In: Poetry

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