Up and down the country, we are seeing an exponential increase in the number of people visiting foodbanks. The Trussell Trust, which runs 4 in 10 foodbanks in the UK have seen visits increase from just over 340,000 in 2012/13 to over 900,000 in 2013/14. Thousands of volunteers give their time collecting, sorting and giving out donated food. It is a great testimony that so many people give generously of their time and money to meet this need, but it also highlights the great tragedy of so many people find themselves in such a position that they require emergency food from a foodbank. Why is it that we are one of the richest nations in the world, yet an increasing number of people are reliant on foodbanks to provide for their families?
Today, UK foodbanks and churches are bound together. We are called though the Scripture to feed the hungry and provide for those in need. Jesus invited his followers to pray that they might have their daily bread. Foodbanks remind us that the provision and distribution of food lies at the very heart of God’s engagement with creation.
The Joint Public Issues Team (working on behalf of the Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches) has recently launched ‘Faith in Foodbanks?’, a series of resources to help churches to explore the connections between our worship, our world and the work of foodbanks. The resources include information about the rise of foodbanks, a series of Bible studies and ideas for worship and reflections. They also offer some ideas which churches can use if they wish to go further in sharing the stories of those they meet through their foodbank ministry and asking the important questions which lie behind the rise of food poverty in this country.
The resources can be downloaded from www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/faithinfoodbanks
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