Community News

‘Food SOS’ campaign launches to support Brighton & Hove food banks as demand surges and donations fall

Graham Robson September 28, 2022

Led by Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, the Food SOS campaign is calling for all city schools and other organisations to join a city-wide harvest festival campaign and drive food donations to local food banks/projects, alongside sharing useful information to support people through the winter months.

New findings show thousands of people in Brighton & Hove now depend on week-in week-out support from charities to meet their everyday food needs. Figures from the city’s Emergency Food Network annual survey reveal a 69% drop in money and food donations, leaving charities struggling to meet demand. More than 5,000 people in the city turned to the Network’s members every week over the past year to meet their food needs – with more than 3,000 people returning regularly.

The Food Partnership will be sending out a range of digital resources to support schools in running their harvest festivals and securing donations for local food projects. This will include templates for posters, leaflets and social media as well as suggested food bank shopping lists.

In addition, the Food Partnership has created a range of booklets with information around saving money on food – schools can share these online resources and request paper copies to distribute to families who may be struggling.

Alongside the Food SOS campaign, the Emergency Food Network has already sent an urgent appeal  to new Prime Minister Liz Truss, calling on the Government to put in place an immediate package of measures to address the effects of the cost-of-living crisis for people living in poverty.

This includes increasing benefit levels to meet inflation, ending the five-week wait for Universal Credit and improving the energy efficiency of people’s homes. The September announcement made by Liz Truss regarding an energy price freeze (EPG), although welcome, will not address the financial issues affecting the poorest households, and in fact gives Britain’s richest households twice as much financial support with living costs, according to a leading thinktank7.

The Emergency Food Network is convened by the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. Helen Starr-Keddle, of the Food Partnership, said: “Food SOS will show how we can support our neighbours during what will be a difficult & dangerous winter for many. We would love to see every school in the city running a Harvest Festival and seeking record donations this year.

“This support is absolutely vital as beleaguered community projects run low on donations and their committed volunteers continue to support huge numbers of people at risk of malnutrition, homelessness, and mental and physical health breakdown.”

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