Bishop of Southampton speaks out about food poverty after visiting Bournemouth Foodbank
The Bishop of Southampton recently visited a foodbank in Boscombe to meet people served by the foodbank along with the volunteers who keep it running.
At Boscombe foodbank’s new distribution centre at Bournemouth Methodist Church at St George’s, Haviland Road, Bishop Jonathan heard first-hand from the people who use its crucial services. He heard repeatedly that due to delays in receiving benefit payments, there has been a significant rise in people needing to access the foodbank.
The Right Reverend Jonathan Frost, Bishop of Southampton said:
“Whilst appreciating the neighbourliness of so many in supporting the foodbank, I remain deeply troubled by food poverty in our increasingly divided society. The hard truth is that in 21st century Britain some people, many of them children, are going hungry. I find this unacceptable."
“Of course, the causation is complex. However, late benefit payments can be sorted and I urge people to write to their MPs to keep this practical issue in front of policy makers.”
The foodbank Hub in Boscombe was started several years ago by the local Churches Together group which includes Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Quakers and Catholics. The foodbank brings together local churches and community groups, working together to tackle poverty and hunger in the local area.
The Revd. John Pares, Chair of Churches Together Boscombe, said:
“The way in which people from the community are coming together to help those in need is inspiring. Local churches of all denominations are joining together to fill the gap to make sure local people don’t go hungry, and I am humbled by the kindness and charity shown by those who support this vital service. I want to thank all those volunteers and donors, who make this urgent lifeline possible.”
Foodbanks provide emergency food to people in crisis – they provide three days’ worth of nutritionally balanced food. Foodbanks are supported by churches, schools, businesses and individuals in the local area who donate non-perishable food. The food is then sorted, packed into boxes and distributed by volunteers. Bournemouth foodbanks distribute on average one tonne of food per week to people in crisis. Over 3,400 parcels were given out by Bournemouth foodbanks in the last year and 35% of food parcels were distributed to families with children.