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11 June 2013

45,000 demand action on hunger

45,000 demand action on hunger

Ruth Valerio outside Westminster Central Hall. Front page Flower petition. Photo credits: Clive Mear/Tearfund and Eamonn McCormack / Getty Images

Christians joined thousands gathered in London over the weekend to demand an end to global hunger.

Around 45,000 people descended on Hyde Park on Saturday as part of the Big IF rally to call on governments to tackle the causes of hunger ahead of the G8 meeting next weekend in Northern Ireland.

High profile figures including Bill Gates, Rowan Williams, actor David Harewood and TV presenter Myleene Klass were among those who attended the mass rally and added their voice to the campaign.

A number of Christian organisations, including Alliance members Tearfund, World Vision, Christian Aid and Cafod are among more than 100 groups who have come together to form the Enough Food IF campaign.

Before the rally in Hyde Park, hundreds attended a church service led by Alliance Council member Ruth Valerio in Westminster Central Hall to pray and worship together.

Tamsin Greig, IFPeople who attended the rally helped create a huge visual petition to demonstrate the scale of public support for the IF campaign. The petition was made up of 250,000 spinning flowers, with a total of two million petals representing the two million children who die because of malnutrition each year – lives that can be saved if world leaders take action at the G8.

Around the world, nearly a quarter of children under the age of five do not have enough of the right food to eat. The campaign believes that investing in nutrition is absolutely critical to helping countries develop, as well as being the right thing to do to save people's lives. Hungry children grow up to be adults who simply cannot fulfil their potential in life.

Speaking ahead of the rally, Sally Copley, Enough Food for Everyone IF spokesperson, said: "The UK public is demanding change because they know it’s high time we address both the causes and the consequences of the hunger crisis. It’s the silent scandal of our generation and we plan to make enough noise about hunger so that world leaders have to sit up and take action.

“The Hunger Summit and the G8 summit following it must take ambitious action to end hunger. That means clamping down on tax dodging in poor countries, tackling malnutrition, and cracking down on land grabs. We can eradicate hunger, but it needs real political leadership to do so. We’re demanding action, not words and a lot is riding on what can be delivered in the next 10 days.”