This summer, the papers discovered a new phenomenon: ‘Holiday Hunger.’ Some in the media suddenly realised that cash-strapped parents find it difficult to feed their active children during the summer holidays, because free school meals aren’t available.
This is why I am so grateful to have well run food banks in the area. It’s unbelievable that we need them in the fifth richest country in the world, but we do; and I am thankful they exist.
Over four million children live in poverty in this country. Disgustingly, that figure will increase by a likely million before the next election.
In West Ham, the situation is especially dire. Universal Credit is about to be fully rolled out whilst the government shamelessly ignores every warning about the devastating impact this will have on people’s lives.
Inept administration and cuts to its funding are dragging people in work, and out, into debt and rent arrears.
MPs in constituencies where Universal Credit is already fully rolled out tell me food banks there are being completely overwhelmed.
Churches Food Bank, at St Pauls Stratford and Woodgrange Baptist Church, is an exceptionally well-run food bank.
I have seen, first hand, the selfless work of the volunteers, who provide lifelines to people fighting so hard to survive.
Our Food Banks don’t just provide food. Whenever possible, they distribute new toothbrushes, shampoo, nappies and even washing machine tablets. Small everyday things: but for those forced into utterly desperate situations, they’re needed to help people feel better about themselves.
Labour will put an end to austerity, introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour and build Council housing, putting an end to excessive rents and perpetual insecurity.
Meanwhile, some of our neighbours will be forced to rely on the dedicated and selfless work of food banks. They need regular givers and volunteers, but the easiest way to help is to donate money.
If your workplace, or community group, wants to adopt a charity please think about them. You can read more at www.churchesfoodbank.org.uk. Alternatively, if you represent an organisation needing to refer people, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.