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Website offers churches guidance on food poverty

30 May 2014

jointpublicissues.org.uk

THREE Free churches and a poverty action group have launched an online resource, "Faith in Foodbanks?", on the burgeoning use of foodbanks. It not only looks at the problem of food poverty, but also offers guidance on how to tackle the causes of food poverty.

Produced by the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, and Church Action on Poverty, the resource recognises the ministry of many churches that are helping people; looks at why there has been such a growth in foodbanks; and offers worship and Bible resources to help Christians to reflect on food and poverty.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the URC, the Revd Dr Michael Jagessar, said that foodbanks were "a sign that the world is not as the God of justice intends it to be, a sign that the Church will respond to poverty by taking practical measures to help those who are most in need, but also a sign that we need to ask deeper questions about the causes of poverty . . . in our country".

Last year, the Trussell Trust, which helps four in ten of the foodbanks in the UK, fed more than 900,000 people, including more than 300,000 children. The entire foodbank movement currently can feed a million people a year.

The President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Ruth Gee, asked: "Why are new foodbanks opening every few days, when this is one of the wealthiest nations in the world?" Supporting foodbanks was an obvious response, she said, but the need would continue unless the causes were tackled.

The President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Revd Dr Chris Ellis, said: "The stories and reflections in the 'Faith in Foodbanks?' resources challenge us to question the injustices of systems of power that allow individuals and families to go without food."

An All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty, co-chaired by the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, and the Labour MP Frank Field, disclosed that it had evidence that soaring energy and housing costs were the main reasons why the poorest homes turned to foodbanks. It said that up to 40 per cent of the income of those households was spent on housing, food, and fuel - an increase of about nine per cent on the proportion a decade ago.

www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/faithinfoodbanks

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