Northfield MP Richard Burden will lead a ‘food drive’ for the Northfield Lifeline Food Bank on Thursday 30th May after it was burgled last month. Sainsbury’s supermarket in Northfield will host the charity event.
A food drive enables shoppers to donate food to food banks, who are supporting local people facing economic hardship. Richard will join representatives of the Northfield Food Bank charity, local Labour Councillors and Constituency Party Members to collect donations from 10am – 2pm with a further collection taking place between 4pm and 6pm.
The food drive was organised after the Hollymoor Community Church – home to the charity which runs the Northfield Food Bank – was burgled and vandalised earlier in the year. The MP, councillors and community volunteers committed to supporting the Food Bank in providing emergency help for those facing financial hardship, and an urgent appeal for donations was issued in April. After hearing about the burglary, Sainsbury’s store manager Richard Perry was keen to help.
It is estimated that there has been 170% increase in people using food banks in the UK over the last year. High unemployment levels, and recent changes to taxes and benefits, have meant that an increased number of families and households are at risk of sudden income shocks and reliant on emergency food assistance.
Spiralling food prices, which have risen by 12% in real terms since 2008, are also driving many into food poverty.
Richard Burden, MP for Birmingham Northfield, said: “The UK is the seventh richest country in the world, and yet here in Northfield we are seeing more and more people going hungry. The Life Line Food Bank is an excellent example of community support and resilience to a crisis, and the donations we collect at the food drive today are a life line for many.
“But we need to question why a Food Bank is necessary, and why demand for emergency food assistance is rising so quickly. The hike in food prices we saw last week is yet another example of a Government failing to tackle a crisis of living standards. Food banks are increasingly used by hard working low income families, who are struggling to make wages last until the end of the month.
“The Coalition need to wake up to the human impact of their failing economic policies. It is national scandal that there are parents are unable to feed their children in 2013. The growing need for food banks – and food drives such as this one in Northfield – is really frightening.”
Stephen Merrick, Pastor of the Hollymoor Community Church and founder of the Food Bank, added: “We are living through the worst recession in living memory, and experiencing major changes to welfare and benefit payments. Very few of us are immune from financial hardship, and that is why we need the whole community to pull together in support of the Food Bank.”
It is hoped that food drives will become regular occurrences to support the Life Line Food Bank in Northfield.
Supporters of the Life Line Food Bank will be accepting food donations at Sainsburys, Northfield between 10am – 2pm and 4pm – 6pm on Thursday 30th May.
Cover image by Nic McPhee on Flickr