Bournemouth church provides over 250 Christmas emergency food supply parcels
The Parish of Winton, Moordown and Charminster* thanks to funds from the Church Revitalisation Trust’s Love Your Neighbour campaign (CRT) was able to provide over 250 emergency food parcels to the vulnerable and those most in need at Christmas. The Rev’d James Sharp, Pioneer Minister and Chair of Hope for Food** was invited to bid for match-funding from CRT at a moment’s notice and through a network of organisations was able to quickly mobilise volunteers to put parcels together so that the most in need and vulnerable at Christmas had provisions such as food and sanitary items. Children’s parcels were also provided with a teddy bear and other goodies.
James comments: ‘Our work here in Winton, Moordown and Charminster is to partner with and across organisations and different faiths in order to ensure that the most in need are served – in particular over the winter months. For many years we have worked with Faithworks who have, for years, coordinated churches efforts across the statutory, voluntary and faith-based sectors which means that collaborative and joint working has a proven track record and efficacy.’
James chairs Hope for Food as well as co-ordinating our parish response, so just six days before Christmas we were thrilled to receive a grant for an additional £10,000 from the CRT via Lovechurch, Bournemouth. This was to go some way to match fund the funding, supplies and parcels that had already gone out from Hope for Food and from the parish.
The Parish worked with Westbourne Rotary Club whose experience with food logistics is considerable and were able to source food and sanitary items in just thirty-six hours and amounted to over 4 tons of goods! Our parish staff and a small group student volunteers spent a day safely socially distanced moving and packing over two hundred and fifty male, female, child and student bags at St Alban's church just two days before Christmas.
Using the relationship and partnership with the parish’s friends within the Muslim community, Sister Tama from Poole Mosque was able to organise the logistics and delivery of the packages to hostels, sheltered housing, women's refuges and individual families, having already assessed the male/female/child ratio. This enabled us to ensure that the packages got the most vulnerable on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Sister Tama leads the remarkable multi-faith Shout Out emergency response team across BCP and through her network of volunteers we were certain that the packages got to people in time for Christmas.
James adds ‘Our experience over the years here in Winton, Moordown and Charminster has shown us that the fruit and depth of relationships, networking, shared resources and goodwill that comes from partnership right across the community is considerable, and significantly broadens the impact of what a single church community is able to achieve. The challenge remains and the need is still considerable and we look forward to the continued impact of our work together.’