Lent and food insecurity

10th February 2023

Read the article on MEDIUM.COM

Lent’s origins can be traced back to early Christian communities, who observed a period of fasting and repentance in the lead-up to Easter. Throughout the history of Lent, food has played a central role in the observance of this season. Fasting, or abstaining from certain foods or meals, has long been a part of Lenten tradition. In some Christian denominations, the fast is observed by abstaining from all animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. In others, the fast is less strict, with some believers choosing to abstain from only certain types of food or limiting their consumption of certain foods.

The connection between Lent and food insecurity has become even more pronounced in modern times. As the cost of living continues to rise, more and more people are finding it difficult to afford enough food to meet their basic needs. This is particularly true for low-income families and individuals, who are often the most vulnerable to food insecurity.

Food banks and other charities are vital in addressing food insecurity in our communities. They work to provide food and other necessities to those who are struggling to make ends meet. During Lent, many people choose to donate money or food to these organisations as a way to show solidarity with those who are struggling and to help alleviate their suffering.

There are many ways that individuals can help to address food insecurity during Lent and throughout the year.

  1. Fast from meat:
    One way to show solidarity with those who struggle with food insecurity is to abstain from meat during Lent. Meat can be expensive, and by choosing to abstain from it, you can save money that can be donated to a food bank or used to purchase non-perishable items to donate.
  2. Fast from processed or packaged foods:
    Another option is to abstain from processed or packaged foods during Lent. These foods can be more expensive than whole, unprocessed foods and often have a more significant environmental impact. Eating more whole, unprocessed foods can save money and reduce your environmental impact, which can benefit both individuals and the community.
  3. Fast from unnecessary purchases:
    By cutting back on buying things you don’t really need, you can save money that can be donated to a food bank or used to purchase items to donate. This can also help reduce waste and consumption, positively impacting the environment. → Donate to your local food bank.
  4. Donate food to your local Food Bank:
    Individuals can also consider donating non-perishable food items directly to a food bank. These could include canned goods, dried pasta, rice, and beans. → How to donate food.

In Bournemouth, the cost of living crisis affects people of all ages and backgrounds, including children. Access to nutritious, affordable food is a basic need, and it is a concern when families cannot meet this need. Food banks and other charitable organisations work to address this issue by providing food and other necessities to those who are struggling.


In conclusion, Lent is a time for spiritual reflection and renewal and also a time to consider the needs of others. By fasting from certain foods or making financial or food donations to a food bank, we can show solidarity with those struggling with food insecurity and do our part to help alleviate their suffering. Whether it’s through donating money or food, volunteering our time, or simply spreading the word about food insecurity and the work that food banks do, we can all play a role in helping to ensure that everyone has access to the nourishment they need.

John Saborido
Marketing & Comms Manager
Bournemouth Foodbank

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