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Holiday hunger

by Michael Ford last modified 06 Nov, 2020 11:28 PM

Against a background of high-profile national campaigns, some of our local churches have been quietly getting on with what they have always done - making sure that vulnerable families and households have the care that they need.

In some of our parishes, the local need for support is in keeping food on the table, especially during the school holidays.

St Mary’s Church in Marlborough is providing space for a community-run project involving a local caterer.

Wyke Regis is continuing their foodbank provision with the local schools. Set up earlier this year in partnership with a local school and with funding from the Salisbury Diocesan Social Welfare Fund, the project ensured that children who would have received free school meals had enough to eat while schools were closed through the first lockdown.

St Thomas’s Ensbury Park are offering their boxes of hope, again with local schools. A small grant from the Salisbury Diocesan Social Welfare Fund was used in the first lockdown to provide 150 boxes of 3-day emergency food parcels to the 20 families they have been supporting through local schools, which amounts to 5100 plates of food!

The boxes not only contained food but also games, sports equipment, suggestions for family activities, and beautiful homemade cake donated by our parishioners.

Hamworthy is working in partnership with the community food store on Turlin Moor. Members of the parish are providing 25 packed lunches for young carers who would ordinarily receive a free school meal. These are delivered directly to their homes.

St James' Church in Poole provides 55 cooked meals most days, which are distributed through the SMILE project that supports single parent families. SMILE is one of the projects run by Faithworks Wessex and supported with grants from the St Mary’s Fund.

The Storehouse Church in Dorchester has a Community Kitchen for people allocated vouchers, including those getting free school meals. It provides packs of mixed fresh & non-perishable food, as well as essential hygiene packs, with food donated by individuals and some local shops. It is supported by all the other Dorchester churches, as is the food bank based at the Baptist Church and Community Church.

Social Justice Manager Colin Brady says:

"The provision of food to support families over this holiday period has certainly become more diverse since the Marcus Rashford campaign.

"It is good to see these initiatives in some of the parishes where such support is probably most needed."

A map provides details of food providers that have registered with the campaign. View it at

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