The cast and crew of Oliver! at Lincoln Cathedral are asking the audience to arrive at the show armed with donations of emergency food to help people in crisis.

Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. A simple box of food makes a big difference, with foodbanks helping prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems.

In Lincoln alone there are areas in the top 1% of deprivation for the UK and a quarter of children in Lincoln live on or below the poverty line. Last year Lincoln Foodbank helped to support 3467 people with food parcels.

Ben Poole, Director of Oliver!, said: “In Oliver! poverty greys the workhouse and blackens the slums of London. In Great Britain in 2019 devastating and persistent poverty affects one in five children. It causes people, often people in work, to go hungry and use food banks, even worse lose their homes and take to the streets for shelter.

“The Starring Lincoln Theatre Company production of Oliver! and Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist are separated by nearly 200 years. The story undoubtedly describes universal truths still present today. The past seems written to question the present.

“But what for us? What can we do? We can provide hope.”

In Dickens’ own words: “The sun,–the bright sun, that brings back, not light alone, but new life, and hope, and freshness to man–burst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. Through costly-coloured glass and paper-mended window, through cathedral dome and rotten crevice, it shed its equal ray.”

Ben Poole: “So please bring your food glorious food, not to feed the rich men’s indigestion, but rather to give help and hope to those who need it most. We want to make sure that no one in our local community has to go hungry, but we need your help to make this happen, you can make a real difference. We thank Waitrose for their very kind contribution and would also encourage any supermarket, large or small, to help if they can.

“Imagine if every one of the thousands of people coming to the show just brought one thing.”

The foodbank will accept anything that is long life and can be stored in a cool, dry place. Unfortunately it cannot accept fresh food.

Fore more information in what types of food are most urgently needed please visit the Lincoln food Bank website.