Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Nourish-ing Others and Our Faith

Nourish Volunteers
Peggy from Wadhurst parish reveals the work of the Church for those in need. She says:
"Father Martin O'Connor our new-ish parish priest in Wadhurst recently challenged us to do something practical to help others and we are now involved with a local food bank, Nourish, and have a monthly collection of food. This initiative has led to interest from the other churches. 

So one Sunday evening one of the founders of Nourish, Olga Johnson came to talk to Churches Together in Wadhurst about the nitty-gritty of the organisation. She described the importance of a proper structure. Nourish has two co-chairs, a treasurer and six trustees who meet monthly. Nourish only provides food bags for families who are referred by authorised agencies such as the Citizens advice bureau and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. She described the kinds of situations which lead families to need this basic help, for example, getting into debt due to bereavement, being made redundant, fleeing domestic abuse or just because they are experiencing benefit changes or are in very low paid jobs. She also outlined some of the unexpected problems which dictate the most useful type of food to give as so many people just can't cook. They therefore decided to provide recipes with the food bags only to discover that in the most deprived areas 21% of people have poor literacy and cannot follow a recipe. 

Nourish Store Cupboard 
There are 40 volunteers and a paid part-time administrator. Clearly some of the volunteers are skilled in the gentle art of arm-twisting as last year Asda gave a ton of food, AXAPPP Staff gave half a ton of food, the Potato Shop give 50 kg per week and local schools, Churches and the public are continuously generous.

Some families are now given weekly £5 vouchers (Unforgeable!) donated by a local butcher and greengrocer. Nourish realise that increased fuel charges will increase poverty and their future plans include; Asking more GP surgeries to refer clients, increasing their voucher schemes, acquiring more storage space and being part of the new Resources Centre planned for 2014. Our parish are privileged to be able to contribute."

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