• The Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal this year will focus on food poverty and food sustainability, The Tablet can reveal.

    Speaking after the launch of a new Caritas project to promote sustainable business in Wembley, north London, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said that social need could increase “significantly” in the twelve months that follow Brexit. As a result, he said, Caritas Westminster is developing a systematic approach around how it will respond to issues such as food poverty.

    “We can develop food banks, that’s part of the answer, but we also want food sustainability. Food the equivalent of 250m meals is thrown away each year in this country. So it’s addressing both sides: working poverty and the impact of that on what people eat, and poor use of the food that is around,” the Cardinal said.

    Gisele Henriques, an adviser on food sustainability at CAFOD, explained: “The reason why millions of people around the world are hungry is not merely because of a lack of food, but also a lack of access to food. For many, that’s down to poverty, conflict, climate change and unjust trade policies that displace local farmers from their own markets. We produce more food per person than ever before, yet one-third of it is wasted – something Pope Francis has denounced as the equivalent of ‘stealing from the table of the poor’.”

    A spokeswoman for the diocese confirmed that this year the Appeal will raise funds to build on work already taking place in parishes and schools around food poverty.

    The Cardinal, speaking on the evening that MPs voted against a proposal to delay Brexit in order to prevent the UK leaving without a deal, said he was aware that many Catholics were distressed by the deep uncertainty around the Brexit debate. “In London particularly we have high numbers of parishioners who come from European countries and their anxiety is tangible,” he said. He welcomed the government’s decision to drop the registration fee for Europeans applying for settled status in the UK and reiterated the Church’s commitment to use its schools and parishes to help explain and facilitate the registration process.

    Source: The Tablet