Norwich church marks decade of food parcels
church is marking ten years of providing boxes of food free to needy families across the city and county.
The Food Store project regularly supplies boxes packed with non-perishable food and other essentials items to a wide range of projects and families across Norwich and as far as Wymondham and Great Yarmouth.
Food Store was started by church members Ruth and Peter Warner back in 1997. As a health visitor, Ruth saw how some families were simply unable to feed themselves properly all the time.
The service started in an embryonic form when church family members brought food on an ad-hoc basis and other members took it to families they knew were in need.
Today there is a dedicated team, led by Austin Perkins which, every first Sunday in the month, line up a long row of tables in the hall at Thorpe St Andrews High School, where the church meets, and congregation members stack it high with tins, instant food and chocolates.
“We try to make sure the food is good quality and include plenty of treats for the children,” said Austin. “Some of the families we help don’t have a cooker so we try to include food that can be prepared with just a kettle.”
Sometimes up to 20 boxes are packed up and then distributed via the health-visiting network and social services family intervention teams and through various Christian social action projects such as the YMCA, Pregnancy Crisis and the Magdalene Group.
Each box contains a label detailing where the gift has come from and reassuring the recipient that ‘there are no strings attached’.
One of the regular contacts is Jenny Payne, a health visitor working for Thorpe Hamlet Sure Start. She said: “It’s really good being able to give food directly to the families in desperate need. We can deliver to families with as many as ten children and we know that the children will get something good to eat.”
As news of the service has grown, requests have started to come in from further afield across Norfolk.
Austin said: “Although as a fellowship, Vineyard gives very generously, we are unable to meet all the requests we get because the need is so great. We are now getting pleas for boxes from as far as Great Yarmouth and Wymondham.
“If there are other churches who would like to join us in this ministry, we would love to hear from them. We are also happy to hear from new contacts who can place food boxes with families who really need them.”
Pictured above are Austin Perkins and Robert Warner with some of the boxes Norwich Vineyard will be giving out this Christmas.