1 MONTH ON: OUR THREE PROJECTS!
18 June 2023
18 June 2023
One Month In!
It has now been one month since we began the three flagship social projects that express the mission of our parish: love of God and love of neighbour. My thanks to those who came last Wednesday to hear Sir Charles Nicholson and Mrs Kate Mackenzie of the Companions of the Order of Malta speak about their work in establishing, supporting, and running hot food provision. Thank you, Charles and Kate for making the journey from London!
Number of Volunteers
The number of volunteers is growing! At the beginning of the projects we had the promise of volunteers in double-figures, and the running total is now 56. Great news!
Teething Issues and the Virtue of Charity
One development across the projects is the increased use of our churches, buildings, and facilities, and as a consequence shared use can create some friction between groups and set up and clear away expectations.. This is the perfect moment to show care, patience, tolerance, understanding, and - above all - the virtue of charity. And if shared spaces aren’t as we are used to finding them in these early weeks - bear
with each other, over look the small irritation, and see it as an opportunity to grow in charity. All are
welcome in our parish - and it is wonderful to see our churches and buildings used to their maximum capacity, creative use, and benefit, for a growing number of people in our community whether through provision of hot food, social time, refugee support, clothing, the foodbank, or heavily discounted shopping in this period of a cost of living crisis.
Remember: these projects are living out the Gospel and our principal means of our parish demonstrating we follow Jesus and serve Him in our brothers and sisters most in need in our town and across our local community.
Some of the stories shared with the volunteers are enough to move one to tears. From isolated and lonely neighbours who were thankful to sit down and have a meal with new-found friends, to children excited to see what the new menu was like on a Saturday, to a mother overwhelmed at The Bread and Butter Thing that she received so much food for her young family - these few shared moments show what an impact the social projects are having. I am confident that, as the months go on, the true scale of the positive impact on our town will be huge.
APPRECIATION: MAKING AN IMPACT
Hot Meal Provision
Roy Buckley, a local chef and businessman, has put the Hot Meal Provision on a very sound footing with his advice, expertise, and skill. Roy has put a menu together with hot meals and puddings - and even a kids’ menu! - and this is provided completely free of charge.
The Bread and Butter Thing
The first week we had four people. The second week thirty. The third week - forty-three! The demand and take up is rising exponentially and I am signing the presbytery up to it, too! It is a huge saving on the cost of food and anyone can sign up and opt in and out.
The foodbank is the only project that requires a voucher, in that, foodbank provision really is ‘emergency food’. This project is also an opportunity to provide food and drink informally. Sadly, so many people in need of foodbank supplies haven’t eaten for days. The offer of a sandwich and a slice of cake and a cup of tea is
a real welcome extra for people as they (sometimes with their children) collect their food.
Overview and Summary
I am so very grateful to those who have stepped up so generously to be coordinators of the rotas and are organising the team of volunteers across the three projects. Time is, perhaps, our most precious resource, and so giving of your time to serve others is a huge act of generosity. Thank you, too for those who are going the extra mile and doubling-up on volunteering across the projects.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, please consider signing up even to just once a month or once every six weeks: this makes the rota much easier for everyone and being involved will be a source of blessing for you in return.
Undoubtedly, there will be things to learn, fine-tune, and reflect upon after this first month. These points of correction, improvement, and change will help us calibrate the projects to be more efficient and more effective in the delivery of the services we seek to provide. I invite volunteers and parishioners to share any feedback of how things are going so far to help us improve as the social projects become foundational to the future of our parish and orientate all our energies and focus towards all members of our town and community for the years ahead.