Social Justice

Professor Green is centre stage in the fight against food poverty

The rapper added to his history of volunteering by preparing meals for Londoners at Carpenters’ and Dockland Centre

Professor Green wants other big names in the media to join him in helping out at foodbanks and lobbying the government to end widespread hunger.

The 35-year-old was fresh from a day spent volunteering at Carpenters’ and Dockland Centre, a youth and community centre in East London when he spoke to The Big Issue. He was helping prepare meals for locals after new research showed that more than three-quarters of the population underestimates how many children suffer from hunger.

The rapper, real name Stephen Manderson, said: “Anyone lucky enough to have a public platform should use theirs to lobby for change. No one should worry about when their next meal is.”

Earlier this week the Trussell Trust released its State of Hunger report, which showed that the average foodbank-using family has to survive on an income of just £50 a week.

The study also found that one in five people have even less to live on with no money coming at all in the month before they are referred for emergency food.

Virtually everyone (94 per cent) who uses Trussell Trust food banks is destitute while three-quarters are living in households affected by ill-health and disability.

It is no surprise then that virtually all the people using Trussell Trust foodbanks – 94 per cent – are destitute while three-quarters of people living in households affected by ill-health and disability.

Professor Green said his time volunteering “humanised” the issue and forced him to question how this could be reality for so many people in the UK.

“Some assume that these people don’t want to work or struggle to budget their finances,” he added. “That’s simply not the case. These people don’t want to rely on food charities, and they shouldn’t have to.”

A study commissioned by Unilever showed a staggering two thirds (65.6 per cent) of the UK said they thought fewer than 500,000 children were affected by the food poverty crisis – however four million children and their families are trapped in poverty.

The Trussell Trust alone reported giving away 1.6 million emergency food parcels in the last year, with one third going to children, and waste-cutting charity FareShare delivered enough food to frontline charities for 750,000 meals.

This Christmas, Tesco customers will be given a list of products in high demand at foodbanks so they can choose to add one to their trolley and leave it at a donation point.

Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust, said: “No one should need a food bank at any time of year – but we know during the lead up to Christmas, even more people need help.

“Volunteers across the country will be doing all they can to help their local community, but food banks need donations to ensure emergency food is there for anyone who needs it. The staggering generosity of the public and volunteers has made a real difference year after year. ”

Professor Green is supporting Tesco Food Collection – an annual food drive in aid of Trussell Trust and FareShare through November 21-23. Brits can make a difference this winter by purchasing special packs of PG tips, Hellmann’s, Colman’s, Knorr, Pot Noodle and Graze from Tesco. 5 pence per pack will be donated to charities combatting UK hunger. For more information, head to tesco.com/FightUKHunger

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