THERE were confused looks from shoppers passing through Bonn Square earlier today as tables were set up and members of the public were invited to a free lunch.

Once the eight places were filled and food was brought out, however, it became clear only half of the table would enjoy the two-course meal, the others having to make do with an 'invisible feast'.

ALSO READ: Climate activists take to town centre

The unusual split banquet was created by Good Food Oxford to draw attention to the number of people living in food poverty in the city.

Last year, 4,518 people attending food banks in Oxford, according to the group.

Oxford Mail:

It was designed to highlight hidden hunger in the city and the inequalities between people who sit down to a feast every day and people who do not.

ALSO READ: New community fridge opens to tackle food waste

Good Food Oxford manager Hannah Fenton said: “You don’t get a bill through your door at the end of the month saying you haven’t eaten enough.

"So when people’s resources are stretched, food is often the thing that has to give."

Oxford Mail:

She added: "Many people don’t understand the severity of the problem because food poverty is a hidden issue.

ALSO READ: Food waste charity has saved £7.5m of surplus from landfill

"Many people who are struggling don’t come forward."

Among those at the 'invisible' end of the table was Kathryn Hills, 51, who studies at Oxford Brookes University.

Oxford Mail:

She said: "I think it was a really creative way to get the message across."

Laura Green, 30, agreed adding: "It's amazing how many people it affects in a city like Oxford.

"Two of the guys at the table I was speaking to had just moved to Oxford and the majority of their wages were going on rent, which is a sign of how widely this is impacting people."

The event was part of the national End Hunger UK campaign, which calls for a government plan to end hunger, a fix to Universal Credit and eliminating the five-week wait, plus setting an Oxfordshire Living Wage of £10.02 per hour­.

ALSO READ: Oxford is among the 100 most expensive places to do the weekly food shop

As part of End Hunger UK Week of Action, the Oxford group is encouraging people to write to their MP to demand change.

The campaign is also calling on people to do their bit to support organisations doing what they can to help people experiencing or at risk of hunger and food poverty.

Oxford Mail:

Ms Fenton said: “The climate crisis, Brexit and austerity are the perfect storm for people struggling to make ends meet, and they are the people who will be most affected if food prices rise.

ALSO READ: School pupils in Oxford relying on food bank lunches

"What we need is for the government to take action to protect our farmers and citizens, and reward farming which puts food on people’s tables, whilst also benefiting our climate and land."