Niall Cooper: Hunger: It’s time to act
Whilst the wealth of the richest in society continues to soar, millions of families are continuing to fall further below the breadline. In May last year, Church Action on Poverty’s “Walking the Breadline” report hit headlines for revealing that half a million people had had to turn to foodbanks to feed themselves over the previous 12 months. A year on, the situation is even worse.
On 9 June this year, “Below the Breadline” – published jointly by Church Action on Poverty, Oxfam and the Trussell Trust – revealed that a staggering 23m meals were handed out to people in food poverty last year, by four of the largest food aid providers: The Trussell Trust, FairShare, the Salvation Army and FoodCycle; but even statistics such as these fail to convey the full awfulness of the situation.
Take Vicky, and her husband and two young children. Two years ago they moved from London to Moreton, hoping for a better quality of life for the family. With her husband unable to work on health grounds, Vicky had to become the main breadwinner in the household. Yet, when she found part-time work as a manager of a charity shop, the family’s benefits were reduced. On top of that, they were hit by the bedroom tax, and so Vicky had to find an extra £18 a week out of her already stretched wages and benefits.
“Eventually I found a job, but we’re still having to use the foodbank. I don’t want my kids to grow up in a house where it’s normal to be on benefits, I want them to realise working is hard but worth it. I want to prove to people that I can stand on my own two feet.”..
This is an extract from the July/August 2014 edition of Reform.