NEWS / Food Poverty

Three in four Women’s Institute members donate to food banks

A food insecurity poll by Sustain member the National Federation of Women's Institutes (the WI) finds that 77% of its members donate to food banks - and is calling on the government to stop relying on volunteers to plug the food poverty gap.

Woman holding a basket of food. Photo credit: Pexels

Woman holding a basket of food. Photo credit: Pexels

A survey of 4,287 WI members, conducted by the NFWI (National Federation of Women’s Institutes) over December, shows that 77% of WI members have donated to local food banks or community food aid, 67% of these in the last month. 92% said that they had donated food, 17% said they had donated money, and 10% said they had donated time. 13% of WI members also said that they had donated other items, such as toiletries and sanitary ware.

The NFWI’s Food Matters campaign is calling for an end to food poverty in the UK, and as a first step would like the government to start measuring the scale of the problem, as well as appoint a minister dedicated to addressing the issue. The NFWI fears that the estimated 1 in 10 adults and almost 1 in 4 parents with children aged 18 and under skipping meals because of lack of money and will continue to face hunger.

Ann Jones, Vice Chair of the NFWI and Chair of the Public Affairs Committee said:

“Historically, the WI was at the frontline of supplying food to a country ravaged by war; but today it is clear that WI members are battling to tackle food insecurity on a very different front – via donations to food banks and soup kitchens.

“Food poverty is a very real issue, and we have found from our survey that WI members are taking the initiative and donating to food banks and other organisations in their communities. Whilst it is heartening to see the public stepping in like this, this is really just a sticking plaster and there is only so much that can be expected from civil society.

“We know that WI members have a strong sense of social responsibility but we were still taken aback by the sheer numbers of people who are contributing to food aid efforts. It seems that the government is not only leaving people to go hungry, but is also relying on the British public to plug the gaps it has left behind.

“We want to see the government take meaningful action to ensure individuals and families are not swept up into food poverty in the first place. As a first step, the NFWI would like the government to start measuring the scale of the problem, as well as appoint a dedicated Food Insecurity Minister to address the issue root and branch.”

The NFWI’s Food Matters campaign was launched following a resolution passed at the 2016 Annual Meeting. As part of the campaign, the NFWI is seeking government commitment to start measuring household insecurity, as well as appoint a minister dedicated to tackling the problem.


30/01/2019
Food Poverty

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Food Poverty: Over 8 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat. Sustain is working with communities, third-sector organisations, local authorities and government, aiming to make sure everyone can eat well.

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