Inspire Awards 2013: Giving away bags of blessing
The Pantry, run by All Saints' Church, Marple in Manchester, is providing free basic provisions for local people who need them ...
Every Saturday morning a team of volunteers flings open the church hall doors, ready with their welcome and pre-packed bags of food.
“They are for anyone who is experiencing difficult circumstances, such as redundancy ill-health or sudden loss of income, explains Lynda Riley who organises the rota of 16 willing helpers, keeps an eye on the food supplies and encourages church support for the project.
“We also offer a cup of tea or coffee and a chat to those who want to stay. We don't ask any questions, but try to show God's love.”
The Pantry started a few years ago after the church’s cell groups were encouraged to consider how they could ‘bless their local community’.
Lynda’s group prayed about it and felt The Pantry, as it came to be called, was what God wanted them to do.
She says: “The biggest challenge was getting the project advertised in appropriate places so that we reached the people who were in need. This involved contacting various service providers to explain what we were planning.
“Our church has been very supportive and quickly got on board as the food is provided by the congregation.
“We have been able to open every Saturday since we began, except for one Christmas
day and one New Year's day, which has been no mean feat.”
“The Pantry is helping struggling families in what many think of as a fairly well off village,” says Cathie Williamson who has nominated The Pantry for an Inspiring Project Award.
“It gives the the opportunity to show the love of Jesus to many who are not regular churchgoing people.
“It also gives the community an awareness that Marple is just as likely to have families without food on their tables as ‘poorer’ areas in Manchester and beyond.”
Lynda adds: “Someone told one of the staff church team that if it hadn’t been for The Pantry her son wouldn’t be alive today!”
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