St John’s Church provides space for local charity to help vulnerable members of the community
St John’s Church Storehouse has been providing a lifeline to ex-rough sleepers and the most vulnerable in the Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole communities after the space was turned into a distribution centre for food packages.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, 10 churches from the area have come together to create 41 food and toiletry packages a week. Each package provides enough essential items for five to seven days. The packages are distributed by volunteers and the council to those in need from the Storehouse, based at St John’s Church, Bournemouth. Members of congregations have been donating food and other essential items to keep the Storehouse stocked up.
Reverend Sarah Yetman, Vicar for St John with St Michaelsaid: “Through the work of the Storehouse I’ve been blown away to see how people can come together to do something amazing for the sake of the kingdom of God. It’s been fantastic to see how we’ve been able to play our small part by being generous with our facilities and seeing the results bringing hope to those in desperate need in our community.”
The project is being delivered in partnership with Faithworks, a Christian charity that aims to help people get out of crisis by providing food, finance, or accommodation. Before the pandemic, Faithworks had been using the Storehouse as a hub for rehabilitating rough sleepers and training them with skills that will help them secure work. St Michael’s, the sister church of St John’s, has also been running the Carpenter’s Workshop as part of Faithwork’s rehabilitation programme.
The project continues to send out essential provisions with direction from the Council as to who is most in need. So far around 800 packages have been received by people in need, including a couple from the local area who have been residing in temporary accommodation for the last two months and self-isolating due to underlying health conditions. Because of the St John’s partnership with Faithworks, the BCP Council and volunteers from the Storehouse have been able to deliver food packs and toiletries during lockdown which has enabled them to stay safe.
Speaking about how the food packages have helped them, the couple said: “We have received our parcel again. We were once again overwhelmed by the generosity given to us. Sincere thanks. “
The Right Reverend, Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton said: “Our Churches and communities have been doing outstanding work to help those most in need. These are difficult times and projects like the Storehouse show us the importance of sharing the love of God, and the positive impact it has.”