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Are You Hungry?

The problem of hunger in the UK and beyond

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider the problem of hunger in the world and raise awareness of people who are hungry in the UK.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available a map of the world and the means to display it during the assembly. An example is available at:

  • You will need to display the following statements.

    - We have food poverty in the UK. It just wears a different face.
    - Hunger is the world’s greatest solvable problem.

  • Have available the video ‘Josh’s Story’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 0.44 minutes long and is available at:

  • If possible, find out about a local food bank. Alternatively, invite someone from a local food bank to visit the school and speak about their work.

  • To find out more about The Trussell Trust, see:


  1. Show the map of the world.

    Ask the students which countries suffer from the problems of hunger and malnutrition. (The answers will probably concentrate on countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, but a student might mention the UK. If so, agree, but make no further comment.)

  2. Explain that, at present, an estimated 795 million of the 7.3 billion people in the world do not have enough food. That’s one in every nine people.

  3. Ask the students to name some of the causes of hunger and malnutrition. Possible answers may include:

    - poverty
    - climate change
    - lack of women’s empowerment
    - lack of access to clean water and sanitation
    - lack of education and literacy
    - war

    You may like to record the answers given.

  4. Highlight the UK on the world map and explain that the UK suffers from the problems of hunger and malnutrition, too.

    Point out that this may be a surprise to some people. However, it is estimated that more than 8 million of the 66 million people in the UK are struggling to put food on the table.

  5. ‘Food insecurity’ is defined as experiencing hunger, and the inability to secure enough food of sufficient quality and quantity for good health.

    Food insecurity can have a wide range of results.

    - Parents cut down on food to enable their children to eat.
    - Many children have no breakfast before school.
    - Breakfast clubs have been set up to cover the school holidays as well as term-time.
    - Food banks have been established in many towns and cities.

  6. Show the statement ‘We have food poverty in the UK. It just wears a different face.’

    Revisit the causes of hunger and malnutrition that were identified earlier. Explain that these causes do not apply to the problem of hunger in the UK.

  7. Watch the video ‘Josh’s Story’.

    The Trussell Trust helps people in the UK who are in need of food. It identifies several reasons why people in the UK might suffer from hunger. Among them are:

    - low incomes
    - redundancy
    - rental increases
    - the rising cost of living
    - unexpected bills

Time for reflection

Show the statement ‘Hunger is the world’s greatest solvable problem.’

Ask the students to consider this statement for a moment.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Ask the students, ‘What can we do to help?’

If possible, give information about a local food bank. Perhaps the school could do a collection of food or the students could volunteer at a centre.

Dear God,
We pray for the many around the world who are hungry.
We pray for people in the UK who are worried about feeding their families.
Thank you for all those who have seen a need to help and are doing something about the problem.
Please help us to be willing to help anyone in need.

Publication date: April 2018   (Vol.20 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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