Richard Burden MP has pledged to help local residents living on the breadline by signing up to volunteer at a local food drive and more volunteers are needed.

The Million Meal Appeal, where shoppers can donate food to help local people in crisis, is being organised by charity FareShare and Sainsbury’s stores across the country. As part of the appeal on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October, Richard Burden MP has signed up to help collect donations at the local Sainsbury’s store in Northfield.

The appeal comes as the economic crisis deepens and the rising costs of living hits households in Birmingham hard. Food prices rose by more than four per cent over the last year and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimate that around 5.8 million people in the UK struggle to afford everyday essentials like food.

Volunteers will be asked to greet customers and encourage them to buy an extra item of food from the Million Meal Appeal shopping list. Donations will be collected as shoppers leave the store.

FareShare will then deliver the donated food to over 700 charities and community projects across the UK to help families in need. Sainsbury’s will match the level of food donations collected over the weekend.

FareShare is seeking more volunteers to assist with the two-day food drive. Volunteers can sign up at www.fareshare.org.uk to register, and choose their preferred store and time slot.

Richard Burden, MP for Birmingham Northfield, said: “At the Labour Party Conference this week Ed Miliband talked about how the economy is not working for ordinary people, about increasing costs and the squeeze on people’s living standards. About how we need to build a One Nation economy that works for all of us, not divide the country between the richest and the rest.

“The reality of parents unable to feed their children is one of the starkest examples of this squeeze on living standards faced by many British families. Rising food poverty is a national scandal and the situation is getting worse. Foodbank users are no longer the homeless, or people with drug and alcohol problems. The biggest demand is now coming from families facing benefits delays, struggling with debt and unemployment.

“The Million Meal Appeal will help local families struggling with rising living costs and cuts to tax credits. The Trussell Trust food bank in Birmingham does an excellent job but I know that demand is rising under this government. I am supporting the Million Meal Appeal and I urge others to visit www.fareshare.org.uk to see how they can help.”

Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, who is leading the Breadline Britain campaign nationally added: “More and more families are feeling the squeeze from higher food bills and struggling to make ends meet. It is a disgrace that even though we are the seventh richest country in the world we face an epidemic of hidden hunger, particularly in children. I hope shoppers in Birmingham will support the Million Meal Appeal.”

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