With 13 million people in the UK below the poverty line, there are a growing number of people who go hungry every day.
For these people, who include the young, the old, families and individuals, foodbanks can, literally, offer a lifeline. To give an idea of the scale of the problem, the Trussell Trust, a Christian charity that operates foodbanks, fed 346,992 people nationwide in 2012/13 - more than 200,000 than the previous year.
In simple terms, foodbanks exist to help people in short-term financial crisis by providing nutritionally-balanced parcels of tinned and dried food, usually enough to provide meals for a three-day period. Most foodbanks work in conjunction with professionals from the care sector who are best-placed to identify those who might need help and who can provide them with a foodbank voucher. Food is acquired by donation or collection and teams of volunteers check it and pack it into boxes ready to be given out.
Many Baptist churches have taken the lead by setting up foodbanks, or have joined with other churches in their community to do so, and many more are keen to become involved. In fact, such is the interest that Baptist Insurance has produced guidance notes on running a successful foodbank which sets out to answer some of the questions that are often raised.
Marcus Booth, Underwriting Manager of Baptist Insurance, said, 'We are receiving a growing number of enquiries about the insurance implications of setting up a foodbank and we are keen to support those churches who want to offer this valuable service to people in their community.'
To simplify matters, Baptist Insurance have produced guidance notes and a questionnaire which will help churches to take all of the appropriate measures to ensure that they have the right insurance cover.