Why is this work so important?
Although food distribution is always a needed service, the current food crisis in Britain makes our work more important than ever.
Due to increasing cuts on government benefits, rising unemployment and homelessness, stagnant or reduced wages, as well as an increase in the basic cost of living, absolute food poverty is now a day-to-day reality for an increasing minority in the U.K.
The Trussel Trust has reported that usage of their food banks has tripled over the last year; between April and September 2013 they handed out supplies to 350,000 people. Another report from Oxfam estimates that well over 500,000 are now relying on charity handouts, while The British Red Cross are now embarking on their first mass food aid collection in the UK since the second world war.
Studies also show that malnutrition cases have doubled in England over the last five years; with primary and secondary diagnosis of malnutrition caused by lack of food or very poor diet rising from 3161 in 2008-9 to 5,499 in 2011-12. Tesco have published extracts from a survey they carried out that found that one in four people in the UK have skipped meals, gone without food to feed their family, or relied on family or friends to provide them with food in the past 12 months. Just over a quarter of respondents said they had struggled to buy as much healthy and nutritious food as they did 12 months ago.
As for homelessness: in 2012 over 6,400 persons slept rough in London alone; a 43% increase from the year before.
“Public Health Emergency”
“Britain’s use of food banks triples”
“Eating or Heating?”