We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, one that gives millions in aid to help feed people who are starving in the Third World, and yet our brilliant politicians fail to recognise the scandal that there are people in our own country who have insufficient resources to buy food or pay for heat. Many of these rely on help from Food Banks which have sprung up all over the UK.
Recently at the Ilford Hospital Chapel we received a request for supplies for the Ilford Food Bank and so, for the last few weeks, members of our congregation have been gathering together items for the Bank and we are pleased to help out but it leads to a question: should people living in the UK in the 21st Century have to rely on Food Banks? Those who need the help of the Food Banks are not “scroungers”; they have to be recommended by professionals like the clergy, doctors, Citizens Advice Bureaux etc. Recipients receive a voucher granting them three days supply of food.
In a recent sermon I described the situation as “a national disgrace” and I believe that to be the case. Politicians tell us that during this time of recession and austerity “we are all in this together” (except them, and members of the House of Lords who despite their £300 a day allowance have subsidised food in their two restaurants, as reported in the newspapers today)
As Christians we believe that Jesus came to bring “good news” to the poor and it is a responsibility that we, as his followers, have inherited. However, to my mind, this does not relieve our politicians for allowing this scandal to develop.