The Bishop of Birmingham, the Lord and Lady Mayoress, faith leaders, food bank representatives and community groups came together at 3pm on Ash Wednesday (5th March) to open a ‘Hunger Hut’ in Cathedral Square as the focus for the End Hunger Fast campaign.
End Hunger Fast hit the headlines last month when Bishops and Christian leaders wrote an open letter to the Government calling for action on behalf of people who did not have enough to eat in this country.
Christians in Birmingham have joined the campaign to fast in solidarity with people who are hungry, raise funds for charities tackling food poverty and lobby the Government to ensure work pays and there is a safety net for those on benefits.
During the launch of the Hunger Hut, campaigners will be collecting the ash thumbprints of those willing to sign the open letter– including the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Aston, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, the Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral, Canon Gerry Breen, Major Samuel Edgar, Divisional Commander of the Salvation Army and the Very Revd Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham Cathedral.
As well as launching the Hunger Hut as a place of prayer, awareness-raising and fundraising, hunger journals will be given to foodbank representatives to collect stories of food poverty alongside stories of those fasting during Lent.
The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham said:
"I am delighted to open the Hunger Hut which is a wonderful visual symbol of the concern we have for those who do not have enough to eat in this city.
"It is a scandal that in the 7th richest nation in the world more than half a million people have needed to use a foodbank in the last year and thousands have been admitted to hospital suffering from malnutrition.
"It is the bread and butter work of Christians to roll up their sleeves and work against injustice, speaking up for those who do not have a voice, following the example of Jesus. The season of Lent with its focus on repentance and fasting is a good time for us to speak, pray and act for justice."
The Hunger Hut will be staffed by volunteers and open in Lent to act as a centre for End Hunger Fast in Birmingham. A national day of fasting is being held on April 4th and on April 16th campaigners will take the hunger journals to London to present to MPs.
For more information on End Hunger Fast please visit www.endhungerfast.co.uk.
For more information about how your church can get involved please visit: www.cofebirmingham.com/endhungerfast.
To sign up to receive daily emails in Lent follow this link eepurl.com/O9tRH.