Lent 2014: Why I am fasting for 40 days

Priest Keith Hebden, who is fasting for 40 days to highlight the plight of people who cannot afford to eat, says there are three things the government must do to help the hungry.

Speaking to an audience at St Peter’s Church, Nottingham, said ministers must:

Create a welfare system that looks after the most vulnerable

Make sure the work pays a living wagekeith pic

Put people before profits in the food market

The Revd Dr Hebden, who is the Associate Minister at St Mark’s and St Peter’s, Mansfield, is one of the driving forces behind the national End Hunger Fast campaign which is highlighting the plight of the 500,000 people in the UK who rely on food handouts.

He told the audience that food bills had risen by 35% in the past five years and said the Government must launch a review to find out why. He is living on orange juice and water used to cook vegetables, but said that fasting and going hungry were two very different things.

“People ask me how I am doing but I am making a distinction between fasting and being hungry; fasting is something I prepared for and I have now stopped feeling hungry.

“Going hungry is much harder than fasting, sometimes you eat and sometimes you don’t. I know when my fast will end, when you are hungry you don’t know when it will end.

“When you have a culture that says people are poor through their own fault you will have a state that looks for that in people’s circumstances.”

The Revd Dr Hebden called on his listeners to join in a national day of fasting on April 4 to show their support for people who are hungry.

His talk was the first in a series at St Peter’s, and still to come are: March 20th – Nottingham Arimathea Trust for Asylum Seekers – ‘Destitution in Nottingham’; March 27th – the Revd Liam O’Boyle, Partnerships officer for the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham  – ‘Homelessness and Hunger’; April 3rd – the Revd Christopher Harrison, vicar of St Mary’s, Nottingham – ‘Hunger in the UK: Causes, Consequences and Solutions.’

Admission to the talks, which all begin at 12.30, is free and light refreshments will be available.

For more information see www.nottinghamchurches.org and www.endhungerfast.co.uk

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