27 October 2020
Responding to holiday hunger
We have seen in the past week how the Methodist people have responded with an abundance of care for the millions of children who face half term without enough food to eat.
In Ayton, a small village in North Yorkshire, people have been donating food at the Methodist Church hall for the 40 or so local children who receive free school meals. At Central Hall Methodist Church in Walsall, food packs are being given out by the foodbank and debt advice centre. An impromptu food stall was set up by Stockport Methodists and others outside their local school on the day the Government voted against free meals during half term. And, at Hesleden Methodist Church in Hartlepool, packed lunches are being provided every day this week to local families. These are just a few of the inspiring stories coming from across our community. We know there are many, many more.
We know also that holiday hunger is not a new issue. Churches have for decades supported families in need. But during the pandemic health worries are compounded by uncertainty stemming from growing unemployment, and the underlying temporary nature of work with the burgeoning gig economy. Together this creates huge instability for families. Please be assured that our experienced policy advisers in the Connexional team are working with charities and government to secure increased support through Universal Credit and to engage with the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda to address the inequalities in our society that the virus has exposed and exacerbated.
In addition, and knowing that there is a very real personal debt crisis for millions as a result of coronavirus, the Methodist Church is campaigning for a jubilee – a way of writing off unavoidable debts to get families back on their feet. Many high income families have been able to pay off debts during lockdown, as they have saved on commuting and other costs. But for low income families the exact opposite is true, creating an ever increasing polarisation in our society. Please join the campaign by writing to your MP asking to Reset the Debt. Over 700 Christians have now done this – the louder the cry from us the more the policy makers will hear. Find out how you can take action here.
And please join us in prayer:
Forgive us our debts, we pray
As we forgive our debtors.
We all have debts, Lord
We owe so much to so many:
For love and nurture
Education and encouragement
Shelter and hospitality.
And from you,
The health that has sustained us
The bounty of the earth
The love that frees us.
As we acknowledge what we have received,
Let us also be ready to give
And to forgive.
We pray for those who are burdened by unavoidable debts
And pray that we who know our indebtedness
May act so that all can experience release and freedom.
For your promise is life in all its fullness.
We pray in the name of Jesus
The Revd Richard Teal and Carolyn Lawrence