The final total money raised for The Children’s Society through the Greetings Page in the Parish Magazine at Christmas was £321. Thank you to everyone who so generously contributed to this magnificent sum. 

The Par Churches Together service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was this year held at the Church of the Good Shepherd. It was good to see so many arrive, despite the fact Storm Isha was winging its way towards us and was predicted to bring gale force winds and rain. However the storm did not arrive until well after everyone was safely home. The service had the theme “You shall love the Lord your God and love your neighbour as yourself”, with the Gospel reading being the parable of the Good Samaritan which accentuated that we need to “go and do likewise”. Fr Michael led the service and members of all the other churches in the district led various parts of the service and the readings. 

The speaker was Rev Loraine Mellor, Chair of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Methodist District who spoke about how the way we welcome people is important in spreading our faith and meeting other Christians and also we need to be like the Good Samaritan and help others in need whoever they are. Angeline played the organ and there was some rousing singing to the chosen hymns. 

The tea and coffee (and rather nice biscuits) in the hall afterwards gave everyone the opportunity to chat and perhaps get to know someone we had not met before. The collection for the benefit of children suffering in Gaza amounted to £204.50p.

 St Austell FoodBank 

The visit to the FoodBank organised by Barrie Galley was a very interesting experience and it was good to see how much work is done by the one full time and one part time staff member and 60 volunteers. It was started by the Light and Life Church and is funded by the Trussel Trust and is not just about giving people food in times of severe distress, but the staff and volunteers look at the whole picture and assess each situation, giving advice on ways forward and pointing people to the many ways that those in difficulty can improve the situation they are in. Each person coming to the Foodbank will have been given a voucher by an authorised person and will be given food for three days but are also followed up and guided to the best sources to help them build a better future. 

We saw the room where the donated food is kept finding stacked shelves, sorted into designated categories, on shelving from floor to ceiling. There were also two containers outside containing tins which had been stored in date order. It was pointed out that although it looked an enormous amount of items, it would go down at an alarming rate. Clients are given an allocated amount which is set down on a form where allergies, illnesses such as diabetes, the number in a family and the ages of any children are all taken into account before the food is selected. The type of accommodation where people is also a factor, many are in hotels or bedsits with no cooking facilities and only a kettle, so some food which needs heating up is not an option.

Professionals from various sources attend regularly to talk to clients, such as those who discuss benefits, how best to pay bills, the providers of energy and the Water Board, where often there is unknown help for those in dire circumstances. For those who are sceptical that the food will go to those that “know how to work the system”, we were told it is very difficult for this to happen as those attending need to show they are willing to try ways of alleviating the root causes of their situation. There is a huge county wide network of different organisations that the Trussel Trust works closely with, therefore giving the staff and volunteers many avenues to pursue in the help they can offer to clients, they also share with others any food that cannot be used, such as that nearing sell by date or over, so that nothing that has been donated goes to waste. 

The Foodbank at St Austell is very much Christian based and is within the premises of the Light and Life Church, many of the volunteers are from local churches and the congregations of local places of worship regularly donate food. The numbers of people using the Foodbank has steadily risen over the last couple of years and last year over 5,000 meals were received by those in need. 

We were given a tour of the rooms used by the Light and Life Church and found a large, warm, welcoming area, where we heard they expected over 100 at their worship services. It was very enlightening to hear all the things we learned and also gave us a different perspective of the needs of those who very often through no fault of their own find themselves in a situation where you either pay the bills or feed yourself and often your family. 

The FoodBank was very appreciative of all that we have given and thanked us sincerely for doing so. 

AW

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