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18 March 2013

Churches step up to stop UK hunger

Churches step up to stop UK hunger

Foodbank charity The Trussell Trust has launched a £1 million Easter appeal to help open more church-led foodbanks to meet the growing demand for emergency food in the UK.

Trussell Trust foodbanks are run by local churches and numbers helped this financial year could top 300,000 nationwide. April's proposed welfare reforms are likely to squeeze finances of the poorest even further, plunging more UK families into food poverty and The Trussell Trust is calling on the church to step up to stop people going hungry.

Executive Chairman Chris Mould says that the Church is playing a vital role in combating UK hunger but that there's a long way to go.

He says: "Churches are playing a crucial role in the provision of foodbanks as the Christian principles of compassion, kindness and care are put into practical action for those in need, regardless of their beliefs. The need for foodbanks just keeps growing and April's proposed welfare reforms are likely to accelerate demand.  Jesus urges the church to feed the hungry. Foodbanks are a practical way to do that but there are not enough to meet the growing need, which is why we're asking churches to support our Help Crack UK Hunger appeal." 

Since 2000 The Trussell Trust has launched 325 foodbanks nationwide, almost half of which have launched in the last year alone. It is launching three new foodbanks every week but there are still thousands of UK towns with no foodbanks. The 'Help Crack UK Hunger' appeal asks people to donate the cost of an Easter egg to raise £1 million to open a further 200 foodbanks.

Many people believe that foodbanks are found in deprived urban areas but The Trussell Trust's experience proves that hunger can be found anywhere:  London's richest boroughs and wealthy commuter belts, retirement havens along the south coast in Cornwall, Devon and Sussex and genteel market towns such as Harrogate are now home to foodbanks which give emergency food to local people in crisis. 

There's one around the corner from Buckingham Palace, several in the Cotswolds, the Lake District and the cultural centres of Bath and Cheltenham.

The Easter appeal follows the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby voicing his concerns that proposed welfare reforms limiting rises in benefits to one per cent regardless of inflation will affect children disproportionately, plunging another 200,000 youngsters into poverty.

Netmums research shows that already one in five UK mums skips meals to feed her kids. Thirteen million people live below the poverty line in the UK, including 3.5 million UK children. 

Recent research by cereal giant Kellogg's states that at least 4.7 million people in the UK are in food poverty and that the poorest are spending nearly 25 per cent of their income on food.People are spending 20 per cent more on food than fiveyears ago but eating seven per cent less, with many of the poorest cutting back on fruit and vegetables to make ends meet.

Donations to Help Crack UK Hunger can be made at www.trusselltrust.org/appeals or by texting EGGS13 plus the amount (£1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10) to 70070. E.g. EGGS13 £10 TO 70070.