Credit: Geoff Caddick/PA
There was a lot of laughing – cheerful teasing between old friends, cries of delight when someone recognises a familiar face, patient good humour from nuns posing for photographs.
It’s the Enough Food for Everyone IF Religious lobby of parliament. The positive atmosphere is so infectious that even a policy expert – a profession not normally known for its light-heartedness – starts cracking jokes in his pre-lobby briefing: “The last time I stood up in front of this many nuns … I was 12 years old and at school.” He’s rewarded with gales of laughter.
The briefing over, clutching their papers and waving their placards, the merry band of campaigners go to parliament to meet their MPs.
Near the front of the group, a head or so taller than the others, is Sister Karen with her long stride, flowing white habit and unstoppable laugh. Alongside her is the much shorter Sister Erica from Zimbabwe, chanting and waving her arms in the air, holding her ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF we act and pray’ placard high. Two hundred or so more nuns, friars and priests follow on.
More photos and quotes from the Enough Food for Everyone IF lobby >> Continue reading
Clare Lyons, CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns reflects on yesterday’s Enough Food for Everyone IF lobby of parliament.
credit: Geoff Caddick/PA
A Japanese tourist stopped taking photos of Westminster Abbey to stare at the 200 monks, nuns, bishops and priests walking down the road.
The crowd was chanting and waving placards, one of which read “Hunger shouldn’t be a Habit”. The tourist nudged her friend. There was no discussion – this was clearly much more interesting than one of Britain’s most historic buildings.
The religious protestors were on their way to lobby Parliament, calling for action on global hunger. Many of these monks and nuns had lived in developing countries and seen the devastating impact of hunger.
They’d witnessed parents go without so their children could eat, and watched families sell everything they owned to put food on the table.
Hunger is the greatest scandal of our age, because the problem isn’t a shortage of food. Inequalities in the system that controls production and distribution mean that hungry people don’t get what they need. Put simply, there is enough food for everyone, but not everyone gets enough food.
It’s this message that’s at the heart of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, of which CAFOD is a founder member. Along with 200 other organisations, we’re calling for concrete action by the wealthiest nations to start bringing an end to global hunger.
Religious communities have an incredibly important role to play in the campaign. That’s why monks, nuns, priests and vicars in training came to Westminster to make their voices heard.
More quotes and photos from the Enough Food for Everyone IF Religious lobby >>
As we wait in anticipation of the big Enough Food for Everyone IF G8 rally on 8 June, Christina Kelling looks back on her experience at a previous mass demonstration: Make Poverty History. Join us on 8 June and help make history >
Christina Kelling works for Medair Sudan, and formerly worked in the CAFOD Campaigns team: “I was raised in a Christian family and from a young age was taught that the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love other people.
“If your five senses aren’t troubled by poverty and injustice – if you haven’t tasted the weevils in the flour, held the hand of the person who has fled from war – then how can you understand?” CAFOD supporter Sister Pat Robb asked me last week. “Politicians haven’t seen. That’s why they need us to tell them.”
Her words came back to me this morning, as I shivered in the cold in my borrowed suit and George Osborne mask. I was standing alongside hundreds of other supporters of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign.
We were all dressed up as George Osborne – with matching masks and IF Budget boxes – to draw attention to the opportunity to address global hunger that the Chancellor has in tomorrow’s Budget. See more pictures here >>
This is his chance to keep a 43-year-old promise to spend 0.7 per cent of the UK’s national income on aid and to crack down on the tax-dodging which costs developing countries trillions of pounds each year.
Inside my plastic Osborne mask I was cut off from the outside world. I could barely see the person in front, sounds were muffled and – as no one could recognise the person standing next to them – few of us talked to each other. I certainly couldn’t see the bigger picture. Continue reading
It’s been an interesting week! If anything my diet has been more varied and enjoyable than ever. It could have gone either way, but the fact I had enough to eat has shown that between just a few people, enough food to feed an extra person would have otherwise been thrown away!
And this reflects the statistics on waste – that a third of food globally gets thrown away. So in theory, the shopping that two people do worldwide, is usually enough to feed three people. Yet sadly, it goes in the bin instead.
Think no one should go hungry? Act now. Call on the Prime Minister for an end to global hunger >>
It was also interesting to be more careful with food. Though I didn’t have to go without, or rummage through bins, I started seeing food differently. Instead of seeing the last slice of bread in a bag as something ready to be thrown away, I saw tomorrow’s breakfast.
Instead of walking past old snacks in the office, I thought ‘aha! – lunch!’ I hope that I continue to do this, and that my colleagues might start bringing in things they know they will not eat without feeling that it is an odd thing to do. Though we might live lives where food is not scarce, we can all be a little more aware.
I feel glad to have an increased awareness of the real value (and potential cost to others) of food, and hope to continue to think about how I consume food and my role in the global food system in the future.
About the author: Claudia Elliot is CAFOD’s Campaigns Communications manager. She lived off leftovers donated by friends and colleagues for a week during Lent to raise awareness about the Hungry for change campaign.