Food for the poor in church porch cupboard

Being unemployed and struggling to make ends meet is hard enough. But imagine having to walk a mile, then get on a train, using the remainder of your cash to pay the fare, and walking another mile to get to your nearest foodbank for vital subsistence supplies.

That’s the reality for many of the nation’s poorest people, especially those based in rural areas with minimal public transport links or other infrastructure.

The St Michael’s Church Community Food Cupboard

And that’s why St Michael’s Church, Horton, has installed a food cupboard in the porch, where people can go and help themselves to what they need.

Using a £700 grant from the Diocesan Development Fund, the church has bought a metal cupboard and stocked it with tinned food. Anyone in need can help themselves, and anyone who wants to be generous can re-stock it.

“We were delighted when we were told we had the grant. It’s about putting the church at the heart of the community, rather than it being something that happens for an hour on a Sunday morning,” says Benta Hickley, administrator.

The cupboard was inspired by a similar project at St Michael’s, Steeple Claydon which we featured on Pathways Live in April 2019. St Michael’s Licensed Lay Minister spotted the story and was particularly inspired by the biblical widow’s cruse – which was constantly replenished in 1 Kings 17:8-16.

“It was seeing that story that inspired us,” says Benta.  “We’ve left the church door slightly ajar so that people can come in and use the cupboard. We have stocked it with mostly tinned food and we’ve written to the areas in the village where there is social housing explaining that the project.

“We’ve told the local schools as they are often aware of children who have not had breakfast. We’ve passed letters to anyone we think could possibly benefit from it. Already local residents have put food in. I don’t think we’ll have a problem keeping it stocked. We have some money from a benefactor, and we’ll use some of the food donated at our Harvest Festival.”

The scale of food poverty in the UK is evident. The latest statistics from the Trussell Trust, state that the charity alone gave out 823,145 emergency food parcels between April and September 2019. Factor in the other organisations and charities running foodbanks and that’s a huge number of people without enough cash to buy the basics they need to survive.

Jesus’ call for us to help the poor is evident throughout the Gospel, but particularly in Matthew 25 where he says: “…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me… Truly I tell you, just as you did it for the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Could you set up a similar project in your church or community? Why not apply to our development fund for a grant to help?