Harvest festivals focus on foodbanks

Churches across the country are using their traditional harvest festivals to support foodbanks in their local communities.

The foodbanks are run in partnership with churches by the Trussell Trust and provide emergency food to families and individuals struggling to make ends meet.

Churches and schools have been making harvest donations to foodbanks in Birmingham, including Narthex, Sparkhill based at St John’s Church and at Balshall Heath.

In Rochdale, members of St Andrew’s, Dearnley have joined with other churches and faith groups to open a foodbank this harvest time.

The foodbank is collecting food ahead of its opening at the start of November, when people in crisis will be able to receive emergency food lasting up to three days.

In Leicester many churches are donating their harvest gifts to the Welcome Project, a diocesan voluntary group offering emergency food, supplies and advice to asylum seekers. The project focuses on helping those who arrive in the area with little or nothing to live on and are unable to work to support themselves.

St Pancras Church on Euston Road in London will become a collection point for the Camden Food Bank when it holds its harvest festival on Sunday - and the bees on the church roof have just produced their first combs of honey in time for the service.

Churchwarden Dorothea Hackman said: “We need foodbanks so families feeling the bite of the recession and reduced benefits this winter will not have to send their children hungry to school.”

St Andrew's Clubmoor will be supporting the North Liverpool Foodbank, which has fed 3,000 people, including many children, in the last year.

Local churches and schools have raised most of the 27 tonnes of food distributed to people in need.

Vicar of St Andrew’s Clubmoor, Canon Steve McGanity said: “Harvest is a time to remember God’s abundant generosity yet in 21st century Britain we are faced with the shocking reality of starving families being unable to provide for themselves.

"Our foodbank in Liverpool struggles to meet the increasing demand from local families in need.

"Our Harvest services give our church communities the opportunity to be involved in providing for the needs of the poorest families in the most deprived communities in Liverpool.”

David Shreeve, the Church of England’s national environment adviser said: “Harvest is a time when we remember the abundance of God’s creation but it is also a time when we remember those who need support both at home and abroad.

"The bees at St Pancras Church is a wonderful example of how, even in the heart of a busy city, nature can be found working its wonders and we can all play our part in caring for creation.”