Hunger affects more people than ever before.

Hunger statistics show more people have to go hungry without food more than ever known before.

A lack of food comes as a daily challenge for people who simply cannot afford it in the United Kingdom.

When talking about hunger, our gaze immediately turns to third world countries that are less economically developed so therefore have less to eat.

But a main city in the UK going through this crisis is Leeds, where it is now estimated that more than 27,000 people are known to be malnourished.

Hunger in Leeds is not a recent occurrence, Jamie Hughes, 38, homeless, said: “I have been asking for food for 6 years on and off”, this affects him personally as he said: “the weather is getting colder” making it hard for him to stay filled up and to stay warm.

The key place people like Jamie Hughes turn to and rely on is food banks, these places offer food to people who cannot afford to eat.

church
Church where Leeds east food bank distributes.

 

Although food banks are helpful, most people find it hard to keep on getting food, Natalie Elliot, 37, homeless, said: “I have been to a food bank but there is a limit”. This affects her in a negative way as she said: “I am always hungry and the weather is getting colder so I find it hard.”

Homeless people fall into the highest category of hunger suffers, they also have to deal with issues like the weather which make it hard for them to keep going.

Figures show people that relied on food banks had grown from 26,000 to about 347,000 in just 2012.

However, charities and organisations are doing their bit in order to combat this food crisis that is happening in Leeds, one of these places is Food cycle.

Food cycle is a charity which is helping out in this hunger crisis, it is a UK based charity which can be found in Leeds, like many food charities they give food to people that do not have anything to eat.

Libby Brown, 23, a fundraising officer for food cycle, said: our main aim is to stop poverty in the UK”, the charity helps “people who are socially isolated like the homeless, HIV suffers and people on low income….14% are over 55 and 62% live on low income.”

Homeless people are the main target group that come to get food on a daily basses, people like Shaun Hemingway, 30, homeless, said: “you get food when given it and that’s all I have to eat” and “it makes you appreciate the small things in life.”

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A homeless man on a street in Leeds.

 

As well as feeding the public, food cycle increases social factors in peoples lives, as conducted social surveys show this.

Libby Brown, said: “80% made friends, 87% of people keep coming back, 60% increased confidence, and 73% eat more.”

These high figures give an idea of how many people do not have access to food, they also give an idea of how well charities are doing to feed local residents.

As well as food cycle, there are smaller organisations across Leeds and Yorkshire that provide food to institutes and to people.

These organisations that pass food boxes to places are the ones that do not have time to cook for a large amount of people, or people that do not have money for food.

People like Ken Leach, 70, a volunteer, said: “we sent 1000 parcels this year and been sending for 10 years”, “we pass food parcels to places like houses, schools, hospitals, the national health service to socially deprived areas.”

When asked why, Ken Leach said: “to help people that cannot get hold of food”, thus showing exactly how many people don’t have access to food.

This hunger problem is made worse over the Christmas period that has just come and passed, Ken said: “Christmas time is the busiest time” as people want to have food to survive the most frantic time of the year.

But all this effort is getting some use out of it as many people, especially homeless people, feel satisfied getting food to eat. Due of this, Ken, said: “the biggest achievement is to stop people from going hungry.”

But hunger is not only in Leeds, this is a nationwide problem, with more and more people not being able to afford food.

Some statistics show that in 2008 about 3161 people were admitted into hospital due to food poverty, but this figure rose to 5000 people admitted to hospital in 2012. Again highlighting the fact hunger is only going to rise.

As well as adults, this crisis is now affecting children, research conducted by the University of Leeds found that across the UK, one in five children eat half the calories they should be eating.

This is a serious implication for children as figures show food poverty is on an increase more than ever before.

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