Serving our community
Updated: Jan 18
by Jenny Fox
December is a very busy month with Church life, Foodbank and Foodshare. Foodshare in December was a bumper haul. We collect on the first Tuesday of every month. Foodshare is funded by Sedgemoor Council and Supermarket donations.
The ambient food we collect, Uncle Ben's Rice, Pasta, tinned fruit and vegetables, tinned meat and fish, cereals, biscuits, bottles, and cans of drink, we even had tinned octopus once! My husband and I collect from Glastonbury then we drop at various houses in the Cheddar area and they distribute to 40 local families. We always hold back some suitable foods to share with Wade House in Highbridge.
Wade and Riverbed House's in Highbridge, run by YMCA, were very busy with the intake of Homeless people, as part of the local Government scheme to bring people in from the cold and off the streets and many arrived wearing just want they stood up in. They needed clothes, food, and toiletries. The Manager rings me with items most needed, or she brings the clients over to Hope Church on a Thursday. Hope have a small box of hand knitted items, coats, and shoes.
We can usually find what is needed, although it might take a few days, as our storage is limited. A lovely lady called Jennifer arrived at Wade House just before Christmas, she made her way to Hope Church straight away. It was Thursday, Lyn and I welcomed her and introduced her to Jade. We helped with items of clothing and food. Jennifer came to Hope services all over the Christmas and New Year period. She has an interview and will probably be moved to somewhere more permanent, but we pray that her time at Hope will give her fond memories?
I gave Jennifer a Christmas card and a small gift on Christmas Day. Last week when I said goodbye to her, she thanked me for the only Christmas card she had received and the only present she had received on the day. This really brought it home to me, how completely alone she was. Most homeless people must feel the same. I pray that she finds somewhere lovely to live and makes new friends, wherever she goes.
Every week on a Thursday I collect bakery from Lidl. Items baked the day before, still edible, previously thrown in the bin. Lidl have other charities that collect 5 days a week. Sometimes there are damaged boxes, cereals, chocolate bars, washing powder, cans of drink. All written off and given to us for sharing. If it's a big haul, we take to Cheddar and share with about 25 families. If it's a smaller amount we share with Hope Foodbank and Wade House. This week saw delighted Cheddar families receiving loaves of bread and bread rolls, pizza slices, baked beans, doughnuts, and chocolate brownies.
There are groups in Burnham that also collect and share. Lidl has been doing this act of kindness for a few years now. On one occasion Lidl had drastically over ordered eggs. When I went to collect, I had to do two trips, as my car was completely loaded with boxes and boxes of eggs, probably 120 dozen eggs and all still in a good date!
Families were over the moon and for the next few days my inbox was full of meals cooked with the eggs. All through Lockdown, some of us collected them from Lidl and shared with the families of Burnham Highbridge Huntspill, Cheddar and Axbridge.
Maybe not the most nutritious food, but an immense help to struggling families. Excited children's faces to see the cakes arrive on the doorstep. Relieved parents to have extras, making the weekly money stretch and fill the hungry tummies. Not only that but to see another person and have a quick exchange on the doorstep meant so much. To me and to them.
One time we collected a birthday cake from Lidl, halfway through the deliveries, one mum told us she was delighted to receive a muffin so she could stick a candle in for her son's birthday. She didn't have enough money to buy a cake. Well, we could do better than that. God works in wonderful ways! One thrilled mother and delighted little boy, now with a chocolate birthday cake to celebrate.