We had the pleasure to join these amazing women on ‘Mother’s Hunger Strike’ who have been on hunger strike outside Parliament since Mothers’ Day to campaign against food poverty & mothers forced to skip meals to feed their children.
This is a crucial issue for us because children are being taken from loving mums & families when poverty is called “neglect”. We say Poverty is NOT neglect and Take Away Our Poverty NOT Our Children. So glad Mothers Manifesto @mothers_manif are taking this action.
“We are just heartbroken by the fact that mothers are skipping meals to ensure they feed their children,” one striking mum said.
The Big Issue Greg Barradale 22 Mar 2023
A group of mums have been on hunger strike since Mother’s Day to draw attention to food poverty and parents skipping meals to feed their children.
Made up of a group of 10 women outside Downing Street and more across the country the “Mother’s Hunger Strike” activists are protesting as new statistics show 17.7 per cent of UK households experienced food insecurity in January.
Chantelle Norton, a food bank coordinator from Devon, is on day four of her hunger strike.
“We are just heartbroken by the fact that mothers are skipping meals to ensure they feed their children,” she told The Big Issue.
The strike is planned to run for six days, with many of those on strike still having childcare responsibilities. Standing outside Downing Street in the day, the group is being provided with free accommodation nearby.
They want to ensure people are paid enough, and that benefits rise enough to afford food amid record inflation.
Food prices increased by 18.2 per cent in the year to February 2023, and the number of people turning to Trussell Trust food banks increased by 40 per cent year-on-year.
The latest government statistics show nine per cent of children were living in food poverty from 2020 to 2021.
It’s something Norton is well aware of from her time volunteering with a food bank.
“It makes me more angry about my food bank clients who are having to go through this kind of feeling,” she said
“Somebody that is in hardship, they don’t have the support and they don’t know when it is going to end.”
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas visited the scene to show her support and said “no child should go hungry and no mother should have to skip meals to feed children”. Lucas called on the government to address the strikers’ demands.
The impact of the climate crisis is evident from conversations with food growers in Devon, Norton said.
“As the seasons get chaotic it is causing havoc with the supply of vegetables,” she said.
“Even experienced farmers that have been doing it for their entire career are saying what a struggle it is”.