As we approach the cold winter months and Christmas, it is time more than ever to remember the people who are going hungry on our doorstep. Trussell Trust foodbanks gave out 1.1 million emergency food supplies last year, and each of those foodbank visits tells a story of a person or family in crisis.
This is why we’re joining forces with 12 of the UK’s leading charities working with people affected by hunger to launch the End Hunger UK campaign. It starts with a Big Conversation, going on across the UK until March 2017. Individuals, foodbanks, food projects, local food networks and others are all invited to join in the Conversation and ask the question: What does our government need to do to End Hunger in the UK?
As well as our more than food work, we think there are several things the Government could do to improve the lives of the people we help. Our recommendations include tackling insecure work and low pay and ensuring people who suffer a sudden loss of income or life shock are protected by an effective welfare system. But we’d like to hear from you too as to what you see as the most pressing issues.
Since 2013 we’ve been working with foodbanks to widen their support beyond food to help people in crisis break the cycle of poverty. Food can solve the immediate problem but may not tackle the underlying cause of the crisis the person has, such as a serious debt, health issue or the unexpected bill a family still has to deal with.
There are many reasons which would lead a person to hit an income crisis and need a foodbank parcel from the 420 foodbanks which make up The Trussell Trust Foodbank Network. That’s why the three-day emergency food parcel is just one part of how foodbanks in our network help people in crisis.
We see stopping hunger as about more than food, which is why additional services, including fuel vouchers for pre-payment meters, budget cookery courses and money management advice can create a lasting impact by addressing the underlying causes of a person’s crisis. The Big Conversation is an opportunity to build a network of individuals and groups who can share best practice, encourage debate and identify solutions which will end hunger in the UK.
How can I get involved?
We’re encouraging supporters, foodbank projects and the general public who are interested to run their own Big Conversation event. It can be a forum, a coffee morning or an informal gathering. It could be at a church, a foodbank, another food project, or any other venue. Ask everyone at your event to write their answer to the Big Conversation question on a paper plate, and post a picture of them holding it on social media using the hashtag #EndHungerUK. Send all your plates to your local MP and invite them to step up to the plate as well.
Step up to the plate yourself. Take your own paper plate selfie, share it on social media, and show your support for the campaign, using the hashtag #EndHungerUK.
When should I do it?
Hunger, and poverty, in the UK is still something which is too often considered a ‘dirty little secret’. Negative attitudes towards foodbanks, and the people who rely on them, can leave people feeling isolated, ashamed and worthless.
We are asking you to join the Big Conversation any time between October 2016 and March 2017 to add your voice to our national call for action.
Where can I get advice and resources?
A quick guide and a range of campaign resources are available for download on the End Hunger UK website.
End Hunger UK is supported by many national organisations, including: Child Poverty Action Group; Church Action on Poverty; FareShare; First Steps Nutrition; Food Ethics Council; Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty; Food Aid Network; The Food Foundation; Food Matters; Magic Breakfast; Nourish Scotland; Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming; and Trussell Trust.