Britain is the world’s seventh largest economy and yet people are going hungry.
Half a million people have visited foodbanks in the UK since last Easter and 5,500 people were admitted to hospital in the UK for malnutrition last year .
One in five mothers report regularly skipping meals to better feed their children , and ever more families are just one unexpected bill away from waking up with empty cupboards.
We often hear talk of hard choices. Surely few can be harder than that faced by the tens of thousands of older people who must “heat or eat” each winter, harder than those faced by families who’s wages have stayed flat while food prices have gone up 30% in just five years.
Yet beyond even this we must, as a society, face up to the fact that over half of people using foodbanks have been put in that situation by cut backs to and failures in the benefit system, whether it be payment delays or punitive sanctions.
On March 5th Lent will begin. The Christian tradition has long been at this time to fast, and by doing so draw closer to our neighbour and closer to God.
On March 5th we will begin a time of fasting while half a million regularly go hungry in Britain. We urge those of all faith and none, people of good conscience, to join with us.
There is an acute moral imperative to act. Hundreds of thousands of people are doing so already, as they set up and support foodbanks across the UK. But this is a national crisis, and one we must rise to.
We call on government to do its part: acting to investigate food markets that are failing, to make sure that work pays, and to ensure that the welfare system provides a robust last line of defence against hunger.
Join us at www.endhungerfast.co.uk.
1. Rt Rev Stephen Patten, Bishop of Wakefield
2. Rt Rev David Walker, Bishop of Manchester
3. Rt Rev Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester
4. Rt Rev Andy John, Bishop of Bangor
5. Rt Rev Tony Porter, Bishop of Sherwood
6. Rt Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham
7. Rt Rev Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham
8. Rt Rev Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans
9. Rt Rev Nick Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury
10. Rt Rev Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro
11. Rt Rev John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford
12. Rt Rev Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield
13. Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill, Bishop of Lichfield
14. Rt Rev Michael Perham, Bishop of Gloucester
15. Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby
16. Rt Rev Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon
17. Rt Rev James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester
18. Rt Rev Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester
19. Rt Rev Mike Hill, Bishop of Bristol
20. Rt Rev Martin Wharton, Bishop of Newcastle
21. Rt Rev Peter Maurice, Bishop of Taunton
22. Rt Rev Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph
23. Rt Rev Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster
24. Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford
25. Rt Rev John Holbrook, Bishop of Brixworth
26. Rt Rev Martyn Snow, Bishop of Tewkesbury
27. Rt Rev David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham
28. Rt Rev John Holbrook, Bishop of Brixworth,
29. Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of West Yorkshire
30. Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden
31. Rt Rev Paul Bayes, Bishop of Hertford
32. Rt Rev Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne
33. Rt Rev Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely
34. Rt Rev Brian Castle, Bishop of Tonbridge
35. Rt Rev Jonathan Clark, Bishop of Croydon
36. Rt Rev John Inge, Bishop of Worcester
37. Rt Rev Phil Topham, Bishop of St Asaph, Wales
38. Rt Rev Richard Blacburn, Bishop of Warrington
39. Rt Rev Andrew Watson, Bishop of Aston
Methodist Chairs of District
Loraine Mellor, Nottingham and Derby
John Hellyer, South East
Jenny Impey , London
Michaela Young, London
Stuart Jordan, London
Bruce Thompson, Lincolnshire
Lionel Osborn, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Revd Richard Teal, Cumbria
United Reform Church Moderators
Paul Whittle, Eastern Synod
Simon Walkling, National Synod of Wales
Clare Wood, Assistant General Secretary for Quaker Peace and Social Witness
Helen Drewery, General Secretary for Quaker Peace and Social Witness