In March 2011 Wilmslow Parish launched “FoodFriend” a facility where people, in short
and long term financial need are able to access free boxes of dried and tinned food.
FoodFriend is based at the extension at St Bartholomew’s Church
Why are we doing this?
Although Wilmslow is, on the surface, a fairly affluent community there are still
people who struggle to make ends meet. There are people living on a variety of benefits
but also people who have lost their jobs and may need a helping hand for a short
time. The latter situation is likely to get worse in the recession, with job cuts
happening every day. Needs are sometimes obvious and sometimes more hidden but they
are there. As people who follow Jesus, we are called to put our faith into every
day practise and to help people in need in our own community. Each week as we gather
round God’s table and share bread and wine, we are inspired to also go and feed others,
to love them and transform painful situations as best we can things. Our charge is
to ground our belief in real and physical ways – this is our way.
How will food be collected?
Simple shopping lists have been produced to the value of £2.00, £3.00, £4.00 and
£5.00. Members of the congregation and others within our community have kindly pledged
to commit to taking a list and buying a few extra groceries when they next go shopping.
Because the value of the lists differ it means everyone can get involved in a simple
way, whatever your own financial situation. If Food Friend takes off we hope to connect
with the local supermarkets and with folk who have large gardens and excess produce
to give away.
At present we now have a significant ‘bank’ of food to help those who are vulnerable
in our local areas.
Our project team has talked to a variety of people in Wilmslow; all think there is
a need. We will talk with community leaders and those who work ‘on the ground’ –
head teachers, doctors, social workers, voluntary services and communicate about
the project and they will identify people in crisis and give them a card with the
contact and collection details on it.
What other help is needed?
We will need people to sit in the extension during the times when FoodFriend is open
and administer the food. It maybe that we can co-ordinate this with church sitting.
We will also need people who can bag up food and drive as sometimes food may need
to be delivered.
Some of those we help may also need a sympathetic ear – if you feel you like to listen
to people, then you could help in this way, by chatting with them over a cup of tea.
If I want to offer help what do I do?
Buy food from one of the shopping lists as a regular commitment; offer to become
a Food Friend volunteer. In time it may be that we also need some back up funding
and drivers to deliver food as well.
Like the mustard seed we plan to start small and just see what develops and whether
the project takes off. Our link parish in Longsight is considering beginning something
like this as well and in time it could be that the two projects could be linked in
Just for your information…..
There are many other towns that run a Food Bank project; many have sprung up in the
south of England in apparently ‘well-off’ communities such as Salisbury in Wiltshire.
But there are not so many in the north of the country.
In the short term the parish has also been approached by an organisation which provides
temporary housing for vulnerable single homeless men in Wilmslow, Macclesfield and
Knutsford. They also have a floating support project which supports 15 people in
their own tenancies in our community. We were asked to collect items of food and
simple gifts for Christmas and our folk responded very generously by buying presents
and donating money.
Food Friend starts on Saturday 4th June and will be open from 11.00am – 1.0pm from
the extension at St Bartholomew’s Church. After this the project will be open at
the same time every 1st Saturday of the month.
If you need food urgency or there is someone you know who could benefit from the
project, even if it is simply to ease a difficult financial situation, please call
07415 228248 or email email@example.com