Christian Food Bank Helps UK's Impoverished

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SALISBURY, England - The weak global economy is threatening families across the United Kingdom, with some facing homelessness and hunger.

Recent numbers revealed about 3.7 million children are living in poverty across the country.

One such family, the Sanfords, faced the threat of becoming homeless as they struggled to find work and feed their four children.

Mr. Sanford said he was so desperate he nearly turned to crime.

"The main challenge was putting food on the plate," he recalled. "We were just about keeping up with some of the bills, but we were looking at losing the house. The only alternative would've been begging on the streets or crime to feed the family."

Until the Trussell Trust intervened to help the Sandords. The Christian charity, located in Salisbury, England, has mobilized churches across the United Kingdom to set up food banks to help struggling families.

"Not only is there food which they bring to the house, but they can put you in contact with other agencies," Mr. Sanford explained. "People that can help you out with the benefit questions or Citizens Advice Bureau. And they got us through the hard times."

"Looking for work would've been very difficult with a criminal record had I had to go out and feed the family that way," he continued. "So it was preventative as well as actual help at the time."

Help for Thousands

Last year alone, the Trussell Trust provided food for more than 40,000 people.

"There are more people than ever before in our society who do not know where to turn," said Trussell Trust director Chris Mould. "They're making a choice between heating the home and feeding the children, between paying the rent and getting a square meal. And quite often we meet people who've gone without food for several days."

Mould added that the greatest reward from the group's work is that they are saving lives.

"The highlights for us are when people say, 'That thing you did for me saved my life,'" he said. "Now that's not too strong a claim. We've met several people who've been at the point of utter despair."

"And it's the Christian community through the food bank that has been able to engage with them," he said.

Former drug addict Jim Bugden suffered extreme depression and tried to commit suicide three times. During the Christmas season, he didn't eat for two weeks, until a drug rehabilitation center put him in touch with the Trussell Trust.

"And as I went down here I was welcome terrifically," Bugden said. "I felt as though I was in another world... And because of that, I felt things had lifted up a little bit."

Peter Moss faced bullying in the work place, lost his job, and became homeless. Despite that, as well as suffering from cerebral palsy, he now faithfully serves as a volunteer at the Trussell Trust food bank in Salisbury.

"It makes you feel inside you that you're giving the love of Jesus back to them," Moss said. "And we are the Trussell Trust, here to help people back to the good Lord, showing them we've got the love in ourselves for them."

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Peter Wooding

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