Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) is supporting the End Hunger Fast campaign to call for urgent political action to end hunger in Britain.
Some Quakers in Britain will be taking part in the national day of fasting on 4 April in solidarity with half a million hungry Britons. End Hunger Fast launches 5 March (Ash Wednesday).
Helen Drewery, General Secretary of QPSW said: “Quakers believe that there is something of God in everyone and in this we are all equal. We cannot really call ourselves a ‘rich’ society when our resources are so unequally shared and so many people are going hungry. This situation diminishes us all.
“No one should have to go hungry in Britain today,” she continued. “That so many people do means that we have to ask some fundamental questions about whether our economic and welfare system are working properly.”
An Open Letter from 27 Anglican Bishops and Catholic, United Reformed and Methodist leaders, and Quakers, published today (20 February) calls for immediate action on welfare, wages and food markets, three of the biggest contributors to the hunger crisis.
Ekklesia is an active supporter of the fast.
The text of the joint letter follows:
20 February 2014
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 per cent 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 5 March 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 5 March 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.
Supporting faith leaders include:
27 Anglican Bishops
Stephen Patten, Wakefield
David Walker, Manchester
David Urquhart, Birmingham
Tim Stevens, Leicester
Andy John, Bangor
Tony Porter, Sherwood
Paul Butler, Durham
Alan Wilson, Buckingham
Alan Smith, Shrewsbury
Nick Holtam, Salisbury
Tim Thornton, Truro
John Pritchard, Oxford
Steven Croft, Sheffield
Jonathan Gledhill, Lichfield
Michael Perham, Gloucester
Alastair Redfern, Derby
Lee Rayfield, Swindon
James Langstaff, Rochester
Martin Warner, Chichester
Mike Hill, Bristol
Martin Wharton, Newcastle
Peter Maurice, Taunton
Gregory Cameron, St Asaph
Peter Burrows, Doncaster
Stephen Cottrell, Chelmsford
Martyn Snow, Tewkesbury
John Holbrook, Brixworth
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
Vernon Marsh, Sheffield
Jim Booth, Liverpool
United Reform Church Moderators
Paul Whittle, Eastern Synod
Simon Walkling, National Synod of Wales
Richard Church, Northwest Synod
Clare Wood, Assistant General Secretary for Quaker Peace and Social Witness
Helen Drewery, General Secretary for Quaker Peace and Social Witness