HUNDREDS of people in Milton Keynes are going hungry because they do not have money to buy even the most basic food.
That shocking fact is the reason the Citizen is launching its new campaign to support one of the city’s fastest growing charities – MK Food Bank.
For the past eight years volunteers at the Food Bank have been quietly distributing parcels of tinned and non-perishable food to men, women and children in dire need.
As Milton Keynes has grown, so has the number of people left hungry due to redundancy, bereavement, illness, benefit problems or even theft.
Last year the Food Bank, run by just two paid staff and one apprentice, handed out 7,489 food parcels to people who did not know where their next meal was coming from – a 43 per cent increase in demand on 2010. And, before critics assume these recipients are spendthrifts who blow their food budget on alcohol or cigarettes, every single story was heartbreakingly genuine and every person referred by social services, health workers or other agencies.
“Hunger is not just a third world problem,” said Food Bank project manager Sue Wall. “Even in our prosperous city of Milton Keynes there are children who are hungry and people who cannot afford even a can of beans or soup.”
Now the Citizen has vowed to help MK Food Bank grow enough to eradicate such hunger.
We are appealing for every non-hungry person, business, shop and every school to donate one or more food items or raise cash. Or both.
The campaign kicks off on March 11 with Big Little Give week when we aim to amass 50,000 items of tinned, dried or long life food.
Already pledging support are Asda, which has a Food Bank donation trolley at its Bletchley store, MK Dons, who are collecting at stadiummk during their home match against Yeovil next Tuesday, and John Lewis, which is organising food donation points at its store.
However you help, whether it’s a huge company donation, a group of friends holding a coffee morning, or a school running a sponsored event, the Citizen will publicise it
Our aim over the next 12 months is to collect 200,000 items of food and raise £100,000 in donations.
This week five-year-old Joseph Norford, grandson of Citizen editor Olga Norford, launched our first challenge by spending some of his pocket money on tins of food from the corner shop.
Mrs Norford said: “This is such a deserving cause and a campaign everyone should get behind.
“We take basics, like putting food on the table, for granted, but forget that for many people poverty and hunger is a reality.”
A delighted Sue added: “If every child or family in Milton Keynes donated just one tin of food we would have thousands and thousands.”
For details of how you can get involved in our MK Food Bank campaign view www.mkfoodbank.org.uk , call the charity on MK 322800, or the Citizen newsdesk on MK 372279.