For some time there has been a small informal foodbank in church which allows us to give tinned and non-perishable food to hungry people. The scheme was started by the congregation of Wilbraham St Ninian's URC and we have been contributing to it. Members and visitors to our church are kind enough to donate food to this scheme and we have been very touched by their generosity.
The hungry people we help with these small gifts of food include homeless people, or people in crisis, who appear either on Sunday or through the week.
They also include those LGBT people seeking asylum who are surviving on a tiny food allowance as well as those who have no legal claim in the system and who have then to rely on Red Cross food parcels. Such people no longer qualify for the limited state help that is given to those within the asylum system and, of course, aren’t allowed to work. They live with friends, find help from the Boaz Trust or various churches, or sleep rough as they are not entitled to use homeless shelters. Destitution is actively being used as a tool to “encourage” such people to return home.
A number of the people that we have helped win their refugee status over the years have been in these dreadful circumstances, which shows what a difference good legal advice and a supportive community can make when people hit rock bottom.
We hope now to be able to give more food out to those we know are hungry as well as to those who drop into church seeking help. In order to do this it is really helpful when people continue to donate food on a regular basis.
If, when we shop, we could put a couple of extra items into our shopping each week, bring the items to church and hand them to any of the church leaders or the greeter on the door, it will go a long way to preventing others being hungry. Other arrangements for donations can be made by contacting us. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The food should be non-perishable and have a very long shelf life. Own-brand and economy versions of these items can be quite inexpensive but can really help people to make their meagre resources stretch for a few more days.
Canned goods (get supermarket own brand "value" or "basics" range as they are extraordinarily good value). In particular canned:
- baked beans
- red kidney beans
all help make such a difference. You don't have to get everything or even a selection of things - we can divide-up multipacks of items when we prepare the individual foodbags.
The following items are also useful, but a little more expensive:
- tea bags
Basic items like:
- stock cubes
- salt and pepper
as well as household items like:
- body wash
- shaving foam
all help to offset the costs of surviving on next to nothing.
We recognise that a key facet of our spiritual life is how we care for the poor, give drink to the thirsty, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the imprisoned. The foodbank at church is a small way in which we can make a practical difference to the lives of others.