“Essentials Bundles” scheme in Gaywood
St Faith's Church in Gaywood, King's Lynn, has been working in partnership with local supermarkets to provide "essential bundles" for vulnerable people in their community, along with vital telephone chat support.
The Revd Canon Julie Boyd explains:
The scheme has been running for a few weeks now and the numbers of people benefitting are steadily growing.
We’re working with our local supermarkets, Aldi, Coop and Tesco who give us food and hygiene items. They have been extremely generous in their giving.
St Faith’s Church has a helpline that people can call to request an “essentials bundle” which contains items like bread, milk, fruit, vegetables, tinned products, cereal, rice, tea, coffee, juice and anything else that the supermarkets give to us, occasionally even loo rolls!
The people we are trying to help are those who are in vulnerable groups and so need to be self-isolating and yet do not have anyone else to help them with their shopping. We are not taking people’s shopping lists but we are asking questions about particular dietary needs and how many people live at the property. The parcels are delivered free of charge so that there is no exchange of money taking place and the parcels are left on people’s doorsteps at the allotted hour as the distributor simply knocks on the door and then leaves.
We have a team of people who distribute the food including the clergy team, a number of church volunteers and also some of our local borough councillors. We make sure that we are observing social distancing by limiting the numbers of people preparing the bundles and having the distributors collect the bags of provisions at the door of our distribution centre.
A really important part of the service has been the telephone contact that we are having with people who have felt very cut off and alone. It is very moving to hear some of the stories of people’s complicated situations and how our project has been a life-line.
When we have excess food, we turn to some of the more vulnerable people in our congregation, giving them a call and then taking round a bag of goodies to put on their doorsteps too. In doing this we have added something to the ways in which we are caring for our church community as well, staying in touch and making sure that no one feels forgotten.