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Church launches cafe for bus stop users
WORSHIPPERS in Crookhorn have launched a cafe to feed breakfast to those waiting for the bus outside their church building.
The Bus Stop Cafe is open from 7am-10am, five days a week, at Church of the Good Shepherd in Crookhorn. They are serving food and drink to those waiting for a bus to take them to work, college, toddler groups - as part of an innovative outreach project.
Bishop Jonathan visited the Bus Stop Cafe for himself as part of a day spent in Havant deanery.
The project came out of several years in which worshippers prayed as they walked around the streets of Crookhorn. They realised that in the middle of the Covid pandemic that students in particular were waiting for even longer periods of time at the bus stop outside their church. They took the initiative to serve them with hot chocolate and cakes, twice a week.
This became popular with bus users and children coming home from school, so they decided to expand the ministry and launch the Bus Stop Cafe from March 7.
The vicar, the Rev Janette Smith, said: "With the Bus Stop Café, we aim not only to be at the centre of our community physically, but to be deeply rooted into the community too - to understand its needs; to know how it ticks and perhaps then we can then start to tackle deep-rooted poverty in a sustained way because we’re here in the middle of it.
"So the Bus Stop Café is about getting to know our neighbours: whatever their race, creed, gender identity or colour. It’s about listening to their stories and building friendships together. It’s about beholding our fellow human beings, made in God’s image, until we see them as God sees them. It is much more than just feeding people with physical food, we want to feed their spiritual needs too by showing the love of Jesus."
The church isn't charging for its food, but asking for donations, as it is aware that food poverty is an issue locally. It also wants to help people practically by offering advice on issues such as money and form-filling. They hope to partner with other organisations such as Citizens' Advice Bureau, Christians Against Poverty, the police and point local people to whichever organisation can help them. They've also collected items such as microwaves, toasters, frying pans and a new fridge freezer, which have been donated to enable the launch of the cafe.