Coronavirus: fighting hunger

According to data released by The Trussell Trust, there’s been a shocking 81% increase in emergency food parcels being distributed by food banks in the last two weeks of March compared to this time last year. Alarmingly, there’s also been a 122% increase in parcels for children during the same period.

Every single death from COVID-19 is truly heart-breaking, but sadly, we also know those who’ve had the virus or lost loved ones are not the only ones struggling right now – hunger in the UK & Ireland continues to be a problem, and the effects of coronavirus are exacerbating this.

We’ve all faced difficult changes, but the negative effects of lockdown are hitting the poorest hardest. The estates that Church Army centre of mission staff live and work on hold a higher proportion of those on low-wage or zero-hour contracts. Staying at home also means higher bills. For those who were just making ends meet the additional financial pressures mean they’re really struggling now.

Church Army key workers are among the individuals and organisations doing a sterling job of responding to this increased need:

  • Paul McDonough has stepped in to coordinate the food bank response in Scunthorpe, a provision which was at risk of closing due to insufficient volunteers during the pandemic.
  • In Dundee, Church Army’s centre of mission is one of five food providers in the city. Each day, the centre of mission are providing 130 food parcels – one parcel aims to feed a family for three days.
  • Others in SheffieldSouthampton, and Scotland at the A7 Centre of Mission, are supporting local food banks and food provision agencies where they need extra volunteers.
  • In Blackpool, Javier Salcido is shopping for those who are self-isolating.
  • Greenwich Centre of Mission is distributing 130 snack and activity packs to children and young people every week and, where food bank parcels are being rationed, they’re able to provide supermarket vouchers.
  • The Middlesbrough Centre of Mission has set up a food bank during this pandemic. Jane Emson has already delivered 12 food parcels in partnership with FareShare (a food redistribution charity) with the expectation that many more will be distributed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Church Army dreams and prays for the day when food banks are no longer needed, but until then we will continue to support and run food banks and other food provision initiatives, and fight hunger.

If you’d like to support Church Army centres of mission fighting hunger across the UK & Ireland, please donate online now.

Read more stories of transformation in other areas of our work here.