Stroud Times spoke to James Morrison and Amanda Strover, Manager at Stroud Foodbank. – watch the video above
Music legend James Morrison has spoken of his own experiences of going hungry as he helped out at Stroud Foodbank this afternoon.
The award-winning musician helped out packing emergency food parcels at the unit at Hope Mills Lane in Brimscombe.
The visit comes as anti-poverty charity the Trussell Trust revealed that food banks in its network provided more than 2.1 million emergency food parcels to people across the UK over the past year, in new statistics published yesterday
More than 830,000 parcels were provided for children as families struggle following the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit and the soaring rise in living costs.
The soul singer, who rose to fame with his debut single You Give Me Something, told staff and volunteers at Stroud District Foodbank how he himself had experienced poverty when he would often go to school hungry.
He said: “I know what it’s like to go without – it’s something I can really relate to. My mum was a single mum and a nurse and she did everything she could but with three of us, there just wasn’t enough money to have three meals a day.
“We often went without breakfast and free school meals got me through. I still rarely eat breakfast and can go without food for long periods of time because of my childhood. It’s played a huge part in who I am because I know how it feels to not have enough.”
He said if his family had received a food parcel it would have been a huge help, but that the situation was a ‘double-edged sword’, because food banks ‘should not need to exist’.
“It’s not right that so many people are having to come to the food bank for help. It’s shocking how many people do not have enough money to be able to feed their families,” he said.
“I want people to know this centre is here. People can come and get help – but also come and support, volunteer and donate and do anything they can to try and help end this situation, because it’s not sustainable how many people do not have enough to eat, in our country.”
Food bank manager, Amanda-Jane Strover, welcomed James and said it was important to highlight the impossible situations many people across the country were facing as they experience financial hardship. She said her food bank had seen an increase in the need for support in recent months
“It’s been absolutely wonderful having James here today. He understands the situations people are facing. We have given 500 different people food parcels this month and we are hearing from more and more people needing help,” she said.
Stroud District Foodbank is part of a network of over 1,300 food bank centres supported by the Trussell Trust, which provide emergency food to people locked in poverty and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.
James is encouraging people to sign a petition to help end the need for food banks, supported by the Trussell Trust, Independent Food Aid Network and Feeding Britain network.