Can you help church with fight against food poverty?

Businesses are being urged to support a local scheme for families struggling for food and essentials during the pandemic.

The Community Church, in Stapenhill, and local mental health expert Lorna Smith have launched a Food Help Service which will operate on Mondays and Fridays from their venue, Number 63 Main Street, in Stapenhill (formerly a carpet shop). Thanking the businesses that have already supported residents in need they are now appealing for others to get behind the much needed scheme.

Lorna, who is a freelance mental health worker and part of The Community Church, has spent her time during lockdown helping those who find themselves struggling for food. As a result of her work, which she’s given the title ‘Community Cans Can help’, she has gathered support from a number of businesses keen to donate and help those in need.

Lorna explained ‘When the first lockdown happened I just wanted to do all I could to help those in need. Lots of people offered to donate food for me to distribute and then I started getting in contact with businesses – and it’s just grown from there. I began to realise that I could help more people if I had a base, so I approached The Community Church about working together and using Number 63.’

Along with local lady, Lorna Smith, members of The Community Church are setting up a Food Help Service which will operate on Mondays and Fridays from their venue, Number 63 Main Street (formerly a carpet shop). Dawn Charles, leader of The Community Church, explained ‘In addition to our Main Street building, we took on the lease of the old carpet shop on the corner of Ferry St and Main St at the end of 2019. Our plan was to use the shop as a base for lots of community and church activities including youth drop ins and activities to tackle loneliness. Then Covid happened and the shop has been largely unused…until Lorna approached us.’

Lorna Smith is a freelance mental health worker and part of The Community Church. She has spent her time during lockdown helping those who find themselves struggling for food. As a result of her work, which she’s given the title ‘Community Cans Can help’, she has gathered support from a number of businesses keen to donate and help those in need. Lorna explained ‘When the first lockdown happened I just wanted to do all I could to help those in need. Lots of people offered to donate food for me to distribute and then I started getting in contact with businesses – and it’s just grown from there. I began to realise that I could help more people if I had a base, so I approached The Community Church about working together and using Number 63.’

Dawn Charles, leader of the Community Church, explains ‘As we chatted we realised that, with Lorna’s contacts and enthusiasm and our venue and volunteers, we may just be able to start something which can make a real difference to the people of Stapenhill. We were keen to get this project off the ground as soon as we possibly could so we’ve worked really hard to put all the relevant risk assessments in place and to recruit volunteers within two weeks! Stapenhill Parish Council have been really supportive too and have given a donation to get us started and Lorna has been tirelessly working to collect donations from various businesses including Tesco, Stapenhill Post office, local cash and carrys and many other local businesses.’

Dawn continued ‘We are aware that there are a number of organisations in Burton who are already doing exceptional work in the area of food poverty and we’re especially grateful to the YMCA who have wholeheartedly supported us, even offering very practical help and advice. Our work is much more low key than their incredible food bank, but I think there is an awareness among all those working in this area that, whilst food poverty is at the levels we’re currently seeing, we all need to do whatever we can to work together and help those who need it most.

We opened our doors for the first time on Monday 1st February and were able to away whatever we have. To receive a food parcel, people simply need to be genuinely in need and bring proof of their name and address.’

The Food Help Service will operate every Monday and Friday 10.30-1pm from 63 Main Street, Stapenhill.

 

Donations of all food and toiletry items will also be gladly accepted during these times. For more information or to donate, call Lorna on 07850 588672 or email info@tcc.org.uk

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