Church opens its doors to foodbank users
PUBLISHED: 12:55 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:55 14 February 2020
Picture: Diocese of London
A Willesden church has partnered with Brent Foodbank to help cater for rising demand for its services.
St Mary's Church will open its doors to foodbank users, offering a warm place to wait during busy periods.
The vicar of St Mary's, Father Christopher Phillips, and other church members will provide tea, coffee and a listening ear to those waiting.
The foodbank feeds more than 1,900 local people each year, and has operated from the Vestry Hall opposite St Mary's since 2013. Increasing use has prompted the foodbank's organiser, the Trussell Trust, to seek additional space and community support.
It will provide an opportunity for people to spend time with parishioners and other members of the local community in a calm environment.
Samantha Stapley, chief operations officer at the Trussell Trust, said: "St Mary's Church does fantastic work and we're really pleased Brent Foodbank could partner with them to help support local people.
"We are so much stronger when we work together and are far more able to reach more people in crisis and provide crucial help.
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"Of course none of this would be possible without the support of our volunteers and donors.
"We're continually blown away by people's support to provide emergency help, and ultimately work towards a future without hunger and poverty.
"This kind of generosity shows that as a nation we believe in justice, compassion to change society for the better."
Father Christopher said: "Whilst it is saddening that services like these are necessary, I'm proud that St Mary's is able to support Brent foodbank's vital work in this new way.
"As demand continues to rise in our area and across the whole of London, support from churches and community groups is crucial.
"We all know the importance of generous foodstuff and financial donations, but foodbanks can only function if they have enough space and volunteers.
"If every cloud has a silver lining, one thing I'm appreciative for is the opportunity to meet, learn from, and build relationships with new people from across the parish.
"Many of the local residents I've spoken to at the foodbank have said they've never been to church before, but were interested in learning more about the work we do in the community."