Christian festival helps local people in need

People turning out for Pentecost 2013 in Ipswich on Sunday are being asked to bring cans of food and soup with them to help local people struggling to make ends meet.

More than 3,000 people are expected to attend the open-air service taking place at the Ipswich Cornhill, outside the Town Hall from 10:30am.

The donated food items will be given to the Christian charity FIND, which provides emergency assistance to families and individuals affected by poverty or dispossession in the Ipswich area.

John Cobbold, co-organiser of Pentecost 2013 and chief executive of the charity Talitha Koum said: "Pentecost is a great opportunity for people to get together, to sing, to praise God and to show the Church cares for people in the community.

"We are asking people to 'carry the can' and bring cans of fruit, vegetables, and our target is to get 2,500 tins to give to FIND to help families in need.

"It would be great if the people who come to Pentecost can help us to provide one can to place into every food gift given out this year."

Maureen Reynel MBE, founder and director of FIND, said: "I urge people to help, any food that is donated has to be in date and really it is best now if it has a use by date of 2014.

"At the moment we desperately need tinned peas, carrots and sweet corn. Cans of corn beef and tinned pies would also be appreciated."

The outdoor service will include worship led by the Ipswich Community Gospel Choir and guest speaker, retired bishop Sandy Millar, who founded the national Christian Alpha courses.

Nathan Simmonds, founding member and director of the Ipswich Community Gospel Choir, said: "On behalf of the choir, we are honoured to be a part of such a momentous event. We pray that God will be praised and that the message of good news will be heard and accepted."

This will now be the third Pentecost festival hosted by the churches of Ipswich and organisers are hoping it will be as successful this year as it was in 2009 and 2010.

Co-organiser Steve Jay, a minister at the Hope Church in Ipswich said: "It is not so much about getting people into church, it's about getting the church into the community.

"This year's Pentecost has been focused on helping the community. The two main areas have been the clear the cans clean up in the Queensway area of town and about carrying the can – the appeal for people to provide cans of food for people."