Spalding Guardian supports Holbeach Community Larder as part of Christmas Foodbank Appeal
Holbeach Community Larder is much more than just a foodbank for people struggling to afford the costs of living.
From an idea first put forward by the Rev Rosamund Seal very soon after she became vicar of Holbeach in January 2013, what was first thought of as a centre to collect and give out emergency food parcels has become what Mrs Seal called "a part of the community".
Not only does it serve Friday lunches to people who live alone, have no cooking facilities or are waiting for their benefits to come through, it also gives advice on where individuals and families can get longer-term help to improve their lives.
Gill Rogers, the community larder's co-ordinator, said: "We've helped to feed 400 people since January, most of whom have said problems with Universal Credit is their reason for coming to us.
"Another issue we've seen this year is people being put in short-term accommodation without any cooking facilities.
"It's a big thing for people to come through the door and say 'Can we have some food?'
"But we care for anybody who walks into Holbeach Community Larder and if they are in need, we'll feed them.
"We're also in a position to be a signpost to other agencies that may be able to help people who come to us with their problems."
Holbeach is one of six foodbank centres in South Holland and Sutterton that is part of our ninth Spalding Guardian Christmas Foodbank Appeal.
Later this month, volunteers from Holbeach Community Larder will be busy with a three-day collection drive at Tesco Superstore, Boston Road South, on November 21-24.
Then in early December, students from University Academy Holbeach and members of the Holbeach community will help pack at least 50 Christmas parcels which will go to people nominated by charities and agencies, including Citizens Advice South Lincolnshire, Jobcentre Plus and SoLDAS (South Lincolnshire Domestic Abuse Service).
Gill said: "It's so satisfying to have people who are in trouble coming to us and we're able to help them with food donated by the community.
"I know a retired gentleman who spends £50 a month on food for us and he phones me up the night before he goes shopping to ask us what we're short of.
"There's also a lady who comes here every week with a bag full of items which goes to show that when you hear about all of the bad things that are going on, it's nice to hear about something good as well."
Holbeach Community Larder is going one step further with plans to serve Christmas Day lunches to anyone in the town and surrounding villages who faces spending December 25 on their own.
The doors of Holbeach Reading Rooms, in Church Street, will open at 12.30 and lunch will be served 30 minutes later.
Mrs Seal said: "We have an average of 40 people who come to our Friday lunches, with a rota of 24 volunteers who help out.
"This year, we'll once again be able to offer a free Christmas Day lunch (with all the trimmings), although donations would be welcome from those who can afford it.
"We hope to be able to provide transport for those who can’t get there on their own.
"But we're looking for one or two people to help with food preparation in the kitchen, a few people to help with laying tables, decorating the hall, serving chatting to guests, plus one or two people willing to provide transport."
Anyone who would like to come to the Christmas Day lunch, or who knows someone who it would help, should call Caz Dennis, administrator for All Saints Church Holbeach, on 01406 423460 or email EEDeanery@lincoln.anglican.org
Mrs Seal said: "If the cafe and foodbank weren't here, people would be bereft which is why they have become part of the community.
. You can leave donations for this year's Christmas Foodbank Appeal at most churches across South Holland.
In Spalding, food, soft drinks, festive items and toys can also be left at Sainsbury’s, Holland Market, or our reception at 4 Francis Street, Spalding.
Elsewhere in South Holland, donations are accepted at The Market House, Long Sutton, Morrisons, Wardentree Lane, Pinchbeck, and the Co-op Foodstore in West Street, Crowland.
Finally, readers in Donington, Quadring, Gosberton and villages in the Boston borough area can take their donations to St Mary’s Church, Station Road, Sutterton.