How we're serving our community
Staying Connected. Staying Well
We want you to know that St Mary’s Church is thinking of you and trying to provide useful resources to help us all in these difficult times. We know this will be a hard time to stretch money and keep everyone entertained and fed. The following free resources will be available to help:
At the Baptist Church • Mondays • 10:00am-11:30am • From 6th April.
Food Parcels ('Mary's Meals' and 'Chippy Larder')
If you are unwell or self-isolating and have no neighbour to shop for you and you require the delivery of a food parcel, please call 01608 646202 with your name, address and family size. Mary's Meals (providing frozen food) is partnering with the Chippy Larder (providing fresh fruit/veg and non-perishable goods from SOFEA*) to distribute food to anyone in need during this crisis. The parcels will be delivered to your doorstep on the following Friday. Unfortunately, we are unable to do a personalised shop.
Family Craft Bags
Collect from St Mary's Church porch on Wednesdays. Each week we'll aim to make a family activity bag - something to make or bake. It will contain everything you need to entertain the family for a few hours of fun.
We know this is a worrying time - if you are anxious we would love to be praying for you. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org You can also try praying yourself. Click here for helpful resources to help you find peace and hope.
To Donate Food
If you wish to donate food, please do put frozen foods into the freezer which is now in the St Mary's Church Porch at the bottom of Church street. This needs to be shop bought not homemade for hygiene reasons. Please note this is for drop off only, not food collection. Any donation would be greatly appreciated. Don't forget to use hand sanitiser!
To Donate Money
All of the above resources are free and are a gift for you. However, if you'd like to chip in to the work we're doing please click here.
Stay safe, stay well and God bless you all!
Mary's Meals blog
Friday 27 March 2020
Well, the week has continued to be busy and we're bracing ourselves for our first major food distribution today (Friday), 300 people are registered, so PLEASE PRAY.
Through it all we have seen GOD’S MAJESTY & PROVISION -
- a large donation meant that we could buy an industrial fridge to take dairy & chilled projects for Chippy Larder
- Aldi have been amazing and let us in at 7.45am each morning to shop in an empty store - which allows us to whizz round & add stock the freezers each day
- people have lent freezers - if you have a CHEST FREEZER that you could empty & loan that would be incredible (we will collect)
- volunteers have been fantastic, and we’re so grateful to Philip Sharman for stepping up to coordinate them all
- we’ve partnered with The Chippy Larder for all our distribution & delivery
- local people have been so generous - a man kindly tested all the refrigeration to check it was up to standard out of hours and for free
- we cleared Costa as it closed and Isobel & I had a hilarious evening driving around Chippy dropping off paninis & cake to lots of the families we work with, as well as the health centre & schools!
But the most amazing thing has been to see how THE BRANCH has become the hub for all this activity and has been turned into the perfect storehouse for all the goods which are being donated and distributed.
The weeks ahead seem overwhelming, already 5 local food banks have collapsed through demand and lack of volunteers (due to self isolating). I know we will need "bread & fish miracles” several times in the weeks ahead, but we trust in a God who knows the need and provides.
Monday 23 March 2020
From Wednesday, we're launching ‘Mary’s Meals’. As you know, we recently bought the old NatWest bank (now called ‘The Branch’) to serve our outreach in the town over the coming years. With the generous help of several people, we’ve borrowed a van and acquired several freezers which we hope will become full of donated food (shop-bought for hygiene reasons).
If you’d like to donate, please come down to St Mary's Church, Church Street any day, time between 9-5, use hand sanitiser and drop off a pie, a lasagne, a pizza or anything like that into the freezer. (Please note food must be shop bought for hygiene reasons).Your donations would be really appreciated! We will then sort through and distribute them.
Friday 20 March 2020
Well, today has been a busy day...
Donations of freezers have arrived as we plan to set up “Mary’s Meals” frozen family meals that will be distributed to particularly those families who are dependent on free school meals, but also families and individuals who are struggling with illness.
So many of you have offered to volunteer and we are busy collating lists and matching people to jobs. So far today we have linked the people to go and help triage patients, deliver medicine and help with admin at the Health Centre. Wigwam offered their van to collect freezers.
The polyanthus that we normally give out on Mothering Sunday have been given to the teachers and admin staff at the three schools in town and the healthcare workers at the hospital and health centre to thank them for the AMAZING work they are doing and to assure them of our prayers.
Judith is doing an amazing job setting up a “Phone Web” making sure that those living alone who are self isolating are getting a chance to chat on the phone once a week.
Flyers have been sent out in book bags with all school children and will be available around the town signposting people to resources, and I am busy negotiating with supermarkets how we can order in food to stock freezers (we had been in conversation with Cottsway Housing who have agreed to put some money towards this). We are also busy delivering 5000 “I can help” cards to supermarkets, garages and churches, to encourage people to pop an offer of help through a neighbour's door - let us know if you receive one!
Meanwhile lots of people are asking how they can contribute towards all of this. Here are some ideas:
- you can volunteer,
- you could buy a meal for Mary’s Meals when you are out shopping (lasagne, pie, sausages, joint of meat) and drop it off in the freezer which is down in the Church - the doors are open, you just walk in, open the freezer and pop it in. So sorry, but we are unable to accept anything homemade.
- Others, who can’t get to the shops are wanting to make a donation - you can do this by clicking here, or sending a cheque to the Church Office reference "C-19”, then we will make sure it reaches the families who really need it as the weeks go on.
So it has been a busy day - oh! I nearly forgot the most important thing. Today saw the launch of “The Chippy Larder”, a group you can join and pay a monthly subscription to, and can choose products that were surplus to supermarkets' requirements, but in date - so a brilliant way to reduce food waste. Currently it is FREE. That will operate from the Leisure Centre every Friday between 3-4.30pm. Today they have received 120 boxes, I will let you know how that went. If you would like to join the scheme - it is open to everyone - please email email@example.com.
So please be encouraged that much is going on in the town to help our neighbours and we will continue to share good news stories. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU ARE DOING AND FOR YOUR PRAYERS.
Please be praying for:
- the healthworkers who are doing AMAZING work and are stretched
- teachers having to make plans to take care children of essential workers
- protection around the team, who are working flat out
- pray for Rizvana who is leading “The Chippy Larder” scheme
- God to prompt who he wants you to reach out to - whether it is on the phone or in other ways