Churches challenge food poverty with latest resource on foodbanks

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, theUnited Reformed Church and Church Action on Poverty have produced athree-part resource for churches about the growing food povertycrisis.

"Faithin Foodbanks?" recognises the ministry of many churches helpingpeople who cannot afford to eat, looks at why there has been such agrowth in foodbanks, and suggests ways churches can take action totackle the underlying causes. It offers worship and bible resourcesto help Christians to reflect on food and poverty in Britaintoday.

In the last five years the need for foodbanks in the UK has growndramatically. Thousands of Churches have responded by starting orsupporting foodbanks within their communities. Last year TrussellTrust, which helps 4 in 10 of the UK's foodbanks, fed over 900,000people including more than 300,000 children. The entire foodbankmovement will now feed well over a million people a year.

The Revd Dr Michael Jagessar, Moderator of the General Assembly ofthe URC said: "The truth is the church should not have to havefaith in foodbanks - but they are a sign of the times -a sign thatthe world is not as the God of justice intends it to be, a signthat the church will respond to poverty by taking practicalmeasures to help those who are most in need, but also a sign thatwe need to ask deeper questions about the causes of poverty andinequality in our country."

"The rising cost of essentials such as food, fuel and housingcoinciding with static low incomes, people not being able to findenough work and continued austerity measures, has left manyfamilies with no alternative but to turn to foodbanks forhelp."

13 million people live in poverty in the UK today. Thisincludes 3.5 million children - a number that is set to rise to 4.6million by the end of the decade. Families that need foodbanksrepresent the sharp end of poverty and the best evidence says theyare driven there by benefit delays or changes along with low incomeand high living costs.

The Revd Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Conference, added:"Why are new foodbanks opening across the country every few dayswhen this is one of the wealthiest nations in the world? When wehear stories about the increasing need for foodbanks, we are boundto respond and to obey Jesus' command to love our neighbour -supporting foodbanks is one way of doing this. We also need torecognise that the need will continue to increase unless we tacklethe underlying causes of food poverty."

"We need to be asking why this is happening." added the Revd DrChris Ellis, President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, "Thestories and reflections in the 'Faith in Foodbanks?' resourceschallenge us to question the injustices of systems of power thatallow individuals and families to go without food. The Bible callsus to put our faith into action. Churches involved with foodbanksand asking the deeper questions about food poverty are doing justthat."

"Faith in Foodbanks?" is a three-part resource including an outlineof the facts and fiction surrounding foodbanks, along with worshipmaterials, reflections, prayers and action points and six Biblestudies that explore the ministry of foodbanks and what God's Wordmight teach us about them. The resource is now available to download.