Letters to the editor: January 28, 2021
Phenomenal support for food bank
I am writing publicly as the chair of trustees of Holbeach Community Larder to thank the people of Holbeach and the surround area for their phenomenal support for the work of the Community Larder throughout the last 10 months of the pandemic and, in particular, for their support in the run up to Christmas.
In 2019 we fed 517 people, of whom 177 were children under the age of 16, during the course of the whole year. In 2020 those figures were 1620 people, of whom 651 were under 16. In addition we provided numerous extra contributions to a number of local schools to supplement their Free School Meals schemes.
In the weeks running up to Christmas local people provided sufficient goods for our team to put together 56 hampers that ultimately fed 189 people including 95 children. We also worked in partnership with Holbeach Football Academy who provided wrapped age-appropriate gifts for each of those 95 children and gift bags for the single parents, which were delivered alongside the hampers. Many other donors also provided children’s gifts, so that most of the children received two or three presents this year.
Our Community Cafe, having had to close in March, was relaunched in September, offering a take-away service on a Friday, and since then Jane Francis and her team has provided a two-course meal for 20-30 people weekly. A Christmas meal went out to 33 people on the Friday before Christmas and, on Christmas Day itself, Karen and Albert Slator and their family cooked a Christmas meal that was distributed to a further 35 people, with several last minute orders coming in on behalf of people who had originally planned to spend Christmas with family members, but were no longer able to do so.
I has been, quite simply, a phenomenal effort, and I want to take this opportunity to thank our 25 regular volunteers who have worked in our storeroom, on our reception desk and in the kitchen and also our growing team of drivers who pick up excess sell-by-date food from Marks and Spencers, Aldi and Tesco, undertake the delivery of parcels to those who cannot get to one of our sessions and deliver our take-away meals and our Christmas hampers.
They have worked tirelessly. I particularly want to thank Gill Rogers who manages our storeroom, who has not missed a Wednesday or a Friday for the last 10 months, and in the two weeks before Christmas was in the storeroom with her team, masterminding the socially distanced packing of hampers every day.
It was wonderful to receive recognition for our work when we won the Hearts of Holbeach Community Group award – so thank you to those who nominated and voted for us.
In the autumn we also set up the ‘Help Yourself’ shop which currently runs in the church porch at All Saints offering supermarket surplus or ‘sell by date’ stock on an almost daily basis to which people can help themselves. This is proving an excellent way to find good homes for day old and frozen bread that would have otherwise gone to waste.
But the groundswell of our support has come from the local community. There has been a constant procession of people arriving at the Vicarage with boxes and bags of goodies. There have been collections in village shops and donations from local businesses, there have been people ringing up and saying ‘We want to go out and spend £200 on goods for you, what do you need most?’ There have been financial donations from local community groups, businesses and individuals amounting to £4965.39 to support our work.
We are hugely and overwhelmingly grateful because, without your donations and financial support and the practical support of our volunteers and the hospitality of the William Snarey Trust who have let us almost take over the use of the Reading Rooms for a very nominal rent, we could not do what we do.
We do it to help those most in need in difficult times and we hope that, eventually, there will come a time when child poverty and food poverty are things of the past, but until that time we are committed to being here for those who need us. Please do not be afraid to ask for our help. If you need food, thanks to the generosity of the local community, we have plenty.
Canon Rosamund Seal
Holbeach Community Larder & Cafe
Thought For The Week: Use your time to honour and glorify God
Many of us like to put people into boxes to which we can affix a label, allowing us to fit them into our categories because we do not know them well or at even all, but we recognize that they are different,
In the Old Testament book of Jonah we learn that Jonah placed a complete city of people into a stereotype box, and did not want to help them with God’s call for repentance and restoration. He had decided in his own mind that they were evil people.
What about us? Do we categorize people? I expect we do some of the time. But we find ourselves categorized by others. Christians are being attacked like never before across the world, by people and groups who claim that Covid 19 is our fault, and sadly many are being abused and ill treated, to the point where lives are being lost.
The problem with sticking labels on people is that the bible teaches that God loves all of God’s created beings and knows that none fit under just one label. A whole group or city of people cannot be classified as Good or bad.
In reality people who have earned the reputation of being bad because of their actions or inactions, quoted by word of mouth and perhaps in news bulletins is far more complex than that label.
That is why this account of Jonah teaches us that all people in that city repented, the good, the bad, and even you’ve guessed it, the ugly.
That is because the God that you and I believe in is “a merciful and compassionate God, very patient, full of faithful love, and willing not to destroy.
Be smart and be safe, understanding that by wilfully disobeying guidelines, you may get sick, and you may also—in turn—pass it along to others.
Rather than doing that, I would encourage you to use your time to honour and glorify God, building your relationship with Him.
Pastor Ross A. Dean
Fleet Baptist Church