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Harvest gifts boost food banks

19 October 2012

DIOCESE OF CANTERBURY

Giving thanks: the children of Charing Church of England School and All Saints Wouldham with (left to right) the President of the National Farmers' Union (NFU), Peter Kendall, Canon Caroline Pinchbeck, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Canterbury. Mr Kendall praised Kent farmers and growers when he spoke at the annual County Harvest Thanksgiving Service held at Canterbury Cathedral on 7 October. It was the first time an NFU President had spoken at such a service

Giving thanks: the children of Charing Church of England School and All Saints Wouldham with (left to right) the President of the National Farmers' ...

FOOD BANKS have benefited from harvest festivals across the country, as congregations donated produce to them.

Tuesday was World Food Day. Chris Mould, the executive chairman of the Trussell Trust, which is responsible for 201 food banks nationwide, said: "Communities across the country are pulling out the stops to start new food banks, and people are donating more food to help those in crisis on their doorsteps."

He warned, however, that many low-income working families were living "on a knife edge". "This rise in food prices could be enough to tip them into poverty, especially as winter approaches and heating costs increase."

The trust reported that almost 110,000 people had received emergency food from UK food banks since April, compared with 128,697 people in total during the 2011-12 financial year.

The trust estimates that three food banks are opening every week. On Sunday, St Pancras New Church in London became a collection point for the Camden food bank. Among the offerings were honeycombs produced by the 10,000 bees housed on the church roof.

In Rochdale, St Andrew's, Dearnley, has joined other churches and faith groups and plans to open a food bank in November. In Leicester, many churches are donating their harvest gifts to the Welcome Project, a diocesan voluntary group that offers emergency food supplies and advice to asylum-seekers.

In the past year, North Liverpool Food Bank has fed 3000 people, just under half of them children, collecting 27 tonnes of food, mainly from local churches and schools.

The Vicar of Clubmore, Liverpool, Canon Steve McGanity, said: "Harvest is a time to remember God's abund-ant generosity, yet in 21st-century Britain we are faced with the shocking reality of starving families unable to provide for themselves."

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