Harvest festivals focus on foodbanks
Churches across the country are supporting vital foodbanks for
their local communities as part of their traditional harvest
Bees* on the roof of St Pancras Church on Euston Road have produced their first combs of honey in time for Sunday's harvest festival (14 Oct) when the church celebrates becoming a collection point for the Camden Food Bank. This central London initiative is part of the national network maintained by the Trussel Trust which supports people referred for emergency food.
"We need foodbanks," said churchwarden Dorothea Hackman, "so families feeling the bite of the recession and reduced benefits this winter will not have to send their children hungry to school."
In the past year the North Liverpool Foodbank has fed 3000 people (just under half being children) raising 27 tonnes of food mainly from local churches and schools.
Vicar of St Andrew's Clubmoor, Canon Steve McGanity said "Harvest is a time to remember God's abundant generosity yet in 21st century Britain we are faced with the shocking reality of starving families being unable to provide for themselves. Our Foodbank in Liverpool struggles to meet the increasing demand from local families in need. Our Harvest services give our church communities the opportunity to be involved in providing for the needs of the poorest families in the most deprived communities in Liverpool."
In Leicester many churches are donating their harvest gifts to the Welcome Project, a diocesan voluntary group offering emergency food, supplies and advice to asylum seekers. The project focuses on helping those who arrive in the area with little or nothing to live on and are unable to work to support themselves.
In Rochdale (Manchester diocese) St Andrew's, Dearnley has joined with other churches and faith groups to open a foodbank this harvest time in conjunction with the Trussell Trust. It will provide three days' emergency food and support for people experiencing crisis and opens at the start of November.
Foodbanks in Birmingham - including Narthex, Sparkhill based at St John's Church and at Balshall Heath - have been supported by harvest donations from churches, schools and the faith community
David Shreeve the Church of England's national environment adviser said: "Harvest is a time when we remember the abundance of God's creation but it is also a time when we remember those who need support both at home and abroad. The bees at St Pancras Church is a wonderful example of how, even in the heart of a busy city, nature can be found working its wonders and we can all play our part in caring for creation."
*The working hive of approximately 10,000 bees, including the queen, arrived in April, and were blessed on 9th May. They live in a 5 frame bee nuc (nuclear hive) on the flat roof of the church, away from the hustle and bustle of the Euston Road. Hive and bees have been donated free-of-charge to St Pancras Church by Jon Harris, a beekeeper based in Brixton, and are looked after by local firefighter Christopher Brooks.
The Trussell Trust http://www.trusselltrust.org/
Camden foodbank: 0207 387 4551 firstname.lastname@example.org
North Liverpool Foodbank http://northliverpool.foodbank.org.uk/
The Welcome Project, Leicester http://www.cathedral.leicester.anglican.org/Our%20life%20&%20work/welcome_project.html
Portsmouth diocese continue to support local foodbanks after the success of its Lent appeal http://portsmouth.anglican.org/news_and_dates/latest_news/single_news/article/generous-worshippers-help-good-causes/
More information on Birmingham projects http://www.faithfulneighbourhoods.org.uk/wordpress/?page_id=14