Hunger isolates people, says Mansfield vicar

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Mansfield vicar Keith Hebden is now more than half way through a 40-day fast as part of a bid to highlight food poverty around the UK.

Rev Hebden, of St Mark’s Church, Nottingham Road, began his water and fruit juice-only diet on 5th March as part of the national End Hunger Fast campaign.

And now that the end is in sight the food poverty campaigner has been reflecting on people’s relationship with food and the difference between his experience and that of the food poor.

Said Keith: “As someone who is fasting I know this will end, whereas, with true hunger you do not know when you will get a job or be able to feed your family.

“I can afford to feed someone who visits my home, but someone going hungry cannot.

“And when you are going hungry there are other things going on that are not just to do with being hungry, for example, fear of visits from bailiffs or not being able to afford heating.”

Rev Hebden said he had realised during a family gathering how not eating could isolate a person.

“So many social activities involve food,” said Keith.

“Not eating excluded me and they did not know how to include me - so that was difficult.

“But it reminded me that those who go hungry are socially excluded and cannot go out for a meal with friends.

Rev Hebden said he had considered the food he would like to eat if he could.

He added: “I have looked forwards to unhealthy foods full of fat and sugar - when you are hungry you make bad food choices.”