Church Action on Poverty has been proud to support the organisers of the End Hunger Fast this Lent. In this guest post, Rachel Dickinson, campaign coordinator for the Fast, talks about what we’ve achieved together.
The End Hunger Fast campaign launched publicly on 20 February 2014 with a letter signed by 27 bishops condemning the government’s welfare reforms as more and more people are turning to food banks to feed themselves and their families. The letter made front pages and sparked national debate about the surge in food banks in the sixth richest nation in the world.
Wednesday 16 April marked the official close of the End Hunger Fast campaign, but we couldn’t disappear without reflecting on the impact of the last two months and saying a massive thankyou to everyone who has backed the campaign – whether it’s fasting, tweeting, writing to your MPs, or organising an event in your church.
- Since 20 February, End Hunger Fast has had 250 media hits, and the subsequent debates around food banks and the place of faith in politics are still raging.
- Over 40 bishops and 600 church leaders have added their support to the campaign, calling on the government to commit to address the rise in UK hunger.
- 2,487 people pledged to join the national day of fasting on Friday 4 April. The fast’s hashtag #FastApril4th was trending throughout the day and there were over 2,500 mentions of the campaign on social media sites.
- Over 75,000 people signed our Change.org petition, authored by food poverty campaigner Jack Monroe, calling for an End UK Hunger budget. The petition was delivered by five clergy to George Osborne at 11 Downing Street.
- As the campaign reached its finale on Wednesday 16 April, the Mirror, the Guardian, the Independent and The i Newspaper all carried front-page stories revealing that the UK has handed out one million food parcels in the last year.
- On 20 April, over 20,000 people took to Twitter to respond to the Mail on Sunday’s article criticising Trussell Trust foodbanks.
- Hundreds of people emailed End Hunger Fast or commented on social media to tell us what they were doing individually or in their communities. It’s been astounding to see the dedication and compassion of people across the country committed to ending the UK’s hunger crisis.
We are still waiting for the government to respond to our call for action on welfare, wages and food prices. Let’s hope that they listen and that Easter 2015 tells a different story on food poverty in Britain – we don’t want to have to be back next year talking about the same issues.
That may be it for now from End Hunger Fast, but the work still continues to ensure no-one in the sixth richest nation in the world is forced to go hungry. Please consider supporting the vital work of Church Action on Poverty to tackle hunger in Britain:
A donation from you can help ensure MPs hear the truth of why people are going hungry
MPs of all parties have just launched an independent Parliamentary inquiry into food poverty and hunger, chaired by the Bishop of Truro and Frank Field MP. It is critical that the Inquiry hears directly from people who are using foodbanks why they are going hungry – and what needs to happen to end hunger in the UK. With your support, Church Action on Poverty can make this happen, by organising regional Hearings across the country. Please pledge a donation of £10, £20 or £50 now.
This article originally appeared on the End Hunger Fast website.