Generous villagers are keeping a food cupboard in their church stocked so that anyone in need can help themselves whenever they like.

St Michael’s in Steeple Claydon is one of three parishes that make up the Claydons benefice in rural Buckinghamshire.

The Revd Rickey Simpson-Gray, the Vicar of the Claydons, said St Michael’s is open from 9am to 5pm each day and the cupboard is open for anyone to take food as they need it, and to donate non-perishables.

The sign on the cupboard states: “If you need some food please take it. There are no rules about who can use this food cupboard. It is for everyone who needs it. Please do not take more than two days’ supply of food in one visit, so there is food left for others. If you would like to donate food please make sure it is well within date and won’t attract mice.”

Rickey says: “One of the parishioners felt it would be a good idea to have this cupboard open to the community for others to keep it filled and people who need it to help themselves.
“We have to replenish the cupboard on a regular basis. We have been looking at how we can expand in the future. We considered a fridge but that was too complicated but we are planning to start to include toiletries.
“It’s a great witness and something we are hoping to build on and harness the gifts within our church and use them to affirm each other as well as meeting the needs of the community.”

The Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham compared the way the food cupboard was frequently replenished with the widow’s cruse from 1 Kings 17:16 which states: “For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.”

The widow’s ‘cruse’ or jug of oil was part of God’s provision for the widow, her household and Elijah during a drought in the Old Testament tale. Bishop Alan said: “With poverty and inequality more people rely on foodbanks. This is an inspirational yet simple idea that means that people living in the Claydons can get supplies for up to two days. It is also an opportunity for people who are able to show their generosity. Like the widow’s cruse it hasn’t run out in over a year. That’s really good news.”