Despite Critics, Some UK Food Banks Will Close For The Queen's Funeral

On Monday, September 19, the longest reigning monarch in British history will be laid to rest at Windsor Castle after a funeral service at Westminster Abbey (via New York Times). Born on April 21, 1926, Queen Elizabeth II died at Windsor on September 8. Addressed in life by the honorific "Majesty," Elizabeth's full regional title was "Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other realms and territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith," per Harper's Bazaar

A mouthful and arguably superfluous, given that the queen was one of the world's most recognizable individuals (via YouGov) and therefore unlikely to be conflated with anyone else, it's relevant nevertheless because it conveys the near-divine reverence with which the British monarch has traditionally been regarded, as reported by BBC News. And that might go a long way toward explaining why the funeral has been declared a national bank holiday by the Government of the U.K., with the result being that much of the nation will be at a standstill during the late queen's funeral and presumably, for many hours bookending the national event. 

For example, hospitals are rescheduling non-essential surgeries because travel disruptions are expected (via Washington Post). Heathrow Airport will suspend flights as needed to "ensure silence over central London" during the processional from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. And despite vocal criticism from many, some food banks will see their important services disrupted.

Food banks don't have to close for the Queen's funeral

Queen Elizabeth II's funeral was declared a national bank holiday in order to permit those wishing to pay their respects to do so without work obligations standing in the way, per The Independent. Schools and government offices are officially closed for bank holidays, however, private businesses and other non-governmental organizations are not required to do so, according to the Washington Post. Nevertheless, many are and that includes a number of food banks.

Food banks provide an essential service for those experiencing food insecurity and because food insecurity is now a notoriously serious problem both around the world and locally in London, some people are outraged by this (via Mayor's Fund for London). As social activist Kwajo Tweneboa pointed out, "Just because the Queen is having her funeral doesn't mean those worse off should be expected to starve" (via Yahoo!). 

In response to the backlash, some food banks have decided to remain open. As a spokesperson for one network of British national food banks pointed out, since food banks are independent, it is really up to them to decide whether or not to open on Monday, per The Independent. "Food banks are best placed to make the right decision for their communities and will ensure everyone who needs support can access it as they do with every bank holiday," said Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust.