Diocese of Portsmouth

    Churchgoers helping to feed the hungry this Christmas

    9 Dec. 2020

    CHRISTIANS from our churches are among those who’ll be feeding the hungry this Christmas.

    They are running Foodbanks, delivering Christmas treats and opening up their buildings to those who are homeless and marginalised as we move into the coldest months of winter.

    Worshippers at St Margaret’s Church, Eastney, kept their building open throughout both lockdowns, helping to feed hundreds of people via their Foodbank since March. They have also welcomed hundreds of generous people who have donated food, week after week.

    And they are determined that no one in the area should go hungry at Christmas. So worshippers will pack ‘Hampers of Hope’ with Christmas treats and deliver them around the local area on December 23. If anyone needs help, contact the church via stmagsscc.uk.

    While they have been running their Foodbank, they’ve also re-developed the church building to serve even more people. They have had a new floor laid with proper heating, and are creating a new worship area, café, children’s soft play area and community shop. The refurbishment has given the church the chance to allocate a dedicated space in the building to their Foodbank. (pictured above)

    Next year, they hope to invite families to use their new café and soft play area, run toddler groups, and help people to furnish their houses and feed their children.

    Pioneer minister Fran Carabott in the new cafe in St Margaret's Church that will soon be open to serve the local community

    Christians from St Philip’s Church in Cosham and St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Wymering, are involved with a project to help feed families in the area with low-cost, staple food. They are working with the Hive, Southern Co-op and Portsmouth City Council on an initative called the Cosham Larder.

    For a small membership fee, people can pay for their shopping at a reduced rate - unlike a Foodbank. The aim is to make healthy, staple food accessible to everyone, without stigma, and to signpost people to any support they need. It opened on December 12 on the site of a former bowls club in Cosham. For details, see www.coshamandwymering.org/larder

    The vicar, the Rev Amy Webb, said: "I’m really pleased that it is yet another way in which churches and community groups in Portsmouth are involved in helping to care for those who might otherwise go hungry during our current difficulties."

    Churchgoers at Holy Trinity Church, Gosport, raised £680 to help feed hungry families in Gosport via a Christmas appeal for Crisis Food Gosport. Added together with the money that was raised for the charity at Harvest-time, generous worshippers there have now raised a total of £1,000 in the past few months.  

    The cash will be spent by Crisis Food Gosport on special Christmas hampers for Gosport families who may otherwise struggle to have enough supplies for the festive period.

    Worshippers from St Matthew’s Church, Bridgemary, have welcomed a group called Acts of Kindness, who are using the building to store food, clothing and furniture for those in need. The church building wasn’t being used for worship as there was a problem with the floor in the worship area, so it made sense for the space to be used for other things.

    Acts of Kindness, who took over food parcel distribution in the area from the Fareham and Gosport Foodbank during the first lockdown, are focussed on serving those in need in the Gosport area.

    Those who run the Friday Fridge, based at St Jude’s Church in Southsea, continue to offer free takeaways of food and drinks every Friday night. They’ll continue to be open from 9pm every Friday night until December 18, and again on January 1. Find out more about Friday Fridge here.

    Worshippers from Harbour Church in Portsmouth delivered free food parcels and survival packs to homes in Portsmouth during the lockdown from November 5 until December 2. They offered free delivery within 24 hours to anywhere in the city.

    St Margaret's Community Church

    Highland Road, Eastney, PO4 9DD

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