Meeting a real need

by Michael Ford last modified 01 May, 2020 06:35 PM

When a Weymouth parish heard that we were heading for lockdown, it joined forces with other community groups and started a foodbank from scratch.

Meeting a real need

Courtesy @wykeregischurch on Twitter

In a real example of collaborative leadership, St Edmund's Wyke Regis, supported by the Diocese and working in partnership with the local Extinction Rebellion Group, Weymouth Town Council, the Veterans Hub, Morrisons, and many people across the parish who donated individually, set up the fully functional foodbank in less than 3 weeks.

The foodbank is really helping to transform lives in the surrounding community, as Revd Br Alasdair Kay, Rector of Wyke Regis All Saints and St Edmund's explains:

“We have been very encouraged that in less than 3 weeks we have issued over 40 food parcels in a day.

“We decided to create the foodbank when we realised that there was going to be several significant repercussions for people in West Weymouth.

“As well as job losses as the economy would be severely hit due to the loss of tourism, the restrictions to travel would mean going to the existing foodanks in Weymouth town centre or Portland would be difficult, and the impact for people who are unable to obtain cash or don’t have cards meant food access could be limited.

“We operate out of St Edmund's Church on Lanehouse Rocks Road, which has good local transport links and this food distribution centre is now serving the communities of Wyke, Westham and Lanehouse.”

Br Alasdair, who as the former Chief Executive of the Derby City Mission had years of experience in setting up foodbanks, said:

"This was a new experience as we have had to factor in considerable health and safety factors like PPE, volunteer exposure and social distancing, along with the normal processes to do with food health and hygiene.

"It has been a real team effort. Special thanks need to go to the churchwardens, clergy and LLMs who have all supported and pitched in to make this a reality.

"Thanks to all the members of Weymouth and Portland Extinction Rebellion who have helped to organise and make this project such a vibrant possibility. Finally, to donors including the Diocese who have given food and funds that enable us to buy the items we need to help sustain people at this very trying time.

"The intention of the project is to be in place only during the time of the pandemic and to close when the stress on food supply subsides."

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