Donors to a Harpenden charity that collects groceries for disadvantaged families can now meet the recipients, and snatch things back if they don’t look grateful enough. Fearing her tins of anchovy-stuffed olives might end up in the hands of ‘awful families with no manners’, Emily Jenkins won the right to pour scorn on poor people after taking the matter to the European court of human rights.
“I’m not expecting a family that has fallen on hard times to grovel”, said Jenkins, “but is it asking too much for a single tear of gratitude?” Mrs Jenkins is asking the ‘Cupboard Envy’ charity to draw up guidelines for beneficiaries, so they can show their appreciation more effectively.
Jenkins spoke at length about the amount of effort she’d put into obtaining her tins of olives. “Naturally, I normally procure items of antipasto at the local delicatessen. I had to make a special trip to the Sainsbury’s in Dunstable, in case anyone recognised me”, she admitted. “It was quite an eye-opener, one of the people shopping there had tattoos. I hope my olives don’t end up with someone like that.”
Jenkins believes a lot of embarrassment could be avoided if the charity were to introduce psychological profiling of potential donees. “A few simple checks would sort the meek from the riff-raff. Will they write a ‘thank you’ letter or send a Christmas card? If we meet in the future, will they embrace me with unbridled deference? How many people will they tell about my selfless act?”
Jenkins explained how she spends a lot of her spare time following the charity’s vans around council estates, and photographing families that receive hand-outs. “To be honest, most of them don’t look like the sort of people I’d normally associate with, and when I showed one chap my receipt for the olives, he just stared at me blankly. I told him beggars can’t be choosers and offered him the chance to thank me, and that’s when he hurled the tin of olives at my windscreen. I’ve never known such ungratefulness, it nearly put me off charity work altogether.”
Jenkins has decided to wrap her remaining tin in Christmas paper with a prominent label bearing her name, and leave it on her neighbour’s doorstep. “Judy’s Mercedes is nearly three years’ old so she’s obviously struggling a bit, and charity should always start at home. It’s true what they say about it being better to give than receive, I feel so much better knowing they’ve gone to a good home.”