Anita Stepnitz, who is behind the Free Art Friday, Portsmouth and Southsea, Facebook page has got more than 30 artists from across the region to take part in the project, dubbed 12 Days of Giving.
But as Anita revealed, the inspiration came from an unusual source: ‘I was really shocked this year when Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg talked about food banks and described their rapid increase as a “rather uplifting” picture of a compassionate country.
From December 1 to 12, FAF will be hiding pieces of donated art around Portsmouth for members of the public to find, with clues on their Facebook page.
Alongside that, from December 1 to 15 there will also be a prize draw in support of Food Cycle Portsmouth and Portsmouth Food Bank. In return for donating any of the following food items, you can be entered into a prize draw to win a piece of art:
n UHT milk
n Long-life fruit juice
n Tinned tomatoes
n Tinned fruit
n Instant coffee
n Vegetable oil
n Tinned carrots
n Peas or sweetcorn
The more you donate, the more chances of winning you have as each item is worth one entry in the draw.
‘I don’t see the use of food banks in quite the same way as Jacob Rees-Mogg.
‘There should be no need for food banks in a country like the UK but there are now at least 2,000 food banks giving out emergency food parcels to people in hardship and each year.’
‘I’m shocked that in this wonderful country, people are stuck in a situation where they truly don’t have enough money to eat for the next few days.’
Anita added: ‘To my surprise, every artist I’ve contacted, has generously wanted to support the project.
‘Nobody has thought “hang on a minute – my work is more valuable than a donated tin of tomatoes!’. Everyone is supporting the project because we hope it will help to make a difference to someone’s Christmas.’
Gail Baird, is project co-ordinator of Food Cycle Portsmouth, which provides free meals for up to 100 people a week. She said: ‘We’re totally volunteer-led, and it’s not just about the food, it’s become something that brings people together.
‘This is a great idea as it’s put us in touch with the creative community – people we might not normally come across. But with things like Free Art Friday, you could say we’re both in the business of giving.’
Food can be taken to The John Pounds Centre in Queen Street, Portsea, 9am-9pm, Monday to Friday. The draw takes place on December 20. All donated items will be split between the two charities.