Our regional newspaper, the East Anglian Daily Times, has picked up the story of Melton St Andrew’s community food project. This is such good news!
It’s online now, you can find it here and it’s in today’s print edition, Thursday 5th December 2019.
Take a look at the top shelf on those photos. Do you see the model of St Andrew’s? That was such a lovely surprise on Thursday, to find that a young person had made us a careful and colourful model of the church, and left it on the shelves for us. Thank you to you. That was such a generous gift of your time and talents. It seems very much in the spirit of the Little Free Pantry.
Generosity grows and spreads.
Here’s a close up of the article, although it’s easier to read online.
I do want to say that this is a community project. It’s received a huge amount of encouragement and support from the Church community – someone made the bunting, someone hand drew posters, people come in each day and check all’s well, people notice what goes quickly so we can replace it. People from the whole neighbourhood contribute by both giving and receiving.
We started the project at Harvest, which was very appropriate. What we’re finding is that we’re noticing things in the Advent readings that I, for one, hadn’t paid enough attention to before.
For instance, as we’re thinking about the prophets, and their message of hope in this first week of Advent, there’s this, from Isaiah 58:
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.
These words seem very powerful right now – as do, always, the revolutionary words Mary spoke when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Two women carrying children. This is my paraphrase of what Mary said:
I’m so full of joy my spirit is dancing
before God, my Lord, my Saviour.
God did not turn away from me
because I am poor, and now
I will be called blessed by all
the generations yet to come.
God, the great, the holy,
has done so much for me.
God brings down the powerful,
but lifts up the weak.
The well fed are empty,
and the table of the hungry
is piled high with good things.
God looks at us with kindness,
giving hope to the hopeless,
caring for those who trust him,
remembering his promises to our people.
We know that local community food projects are appearing in many places – and some are long established. We’re the first pin on the map for the UK on the Little Free Pantry website, and it’s a model that’s very simple, very easy to set up. We hope others will be encouraged to do something similar. Wouldn’t it be good if more community food projects sprang up all over the place? Our hope is for a society where they are not needed, and we can work for that, as Isaiah says. Change is possible, on the grand scale – the national scale, and on the very small scale too.
We can do both. We can make a difference this Advent.
Perhaps we can find some time for making and sharing, some moments of peace and connection, some moments to hold onto hope in midwinter days.