Due to these difficult times, a new emergency need for food has arisen in homes of people in our community. We have been distributing surplus food from Waitrose for many years to the homeless and families. However, we are ALL only three months away from dire straits, we can’t judge a person’s needs, by looking at their two Mercedes cars on the driveway, inside the home are people struggling to feed their children and make payments on their vehicles that they can’t even sell to raise money. We have received great favour with M&S to receive their surplus food, they have a stringent qualification and certification process which our PCF Baptist Church has gone through. This includes evidence of Council Hygiene certificates and Level 2 Food & Hygiene Certificates. M&S only work with charities and we have to adhere to their hygiene guidelines for transporting and distributing food. Just to reassure you our food-surplus distributors all wear masks and observe a minimum of 2M social distancing. We also wear gloves and sanitize the M&S trolley handles before and after use. We drop food on people’s doorsteps, then ring bell and step back. If you receive a parcel, we are not offended if you further sanitise any packaging before consumption. Many people in the Medway Towns have been blessed by the food and have tried to give us things … but we have freely received and we freely give, we believe this is God’s favour and provision for the people He brings across our path, so be blessed and above all ‘be a blessing’. I have summarised the accreditation text from M&S below, but feel free to click the link and read it on their own website.
M&S Neighbourly Initiative – No food should go to waste while people go hungry
In the UK, 1 in 3 children are living in poverty and an estimated 14 million people, one fifth of the nation’s population, are suffering in ‘impossible situations’ where paying bills and putting food on the table can be incredibly difficult. Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2018. M&S know that surplus food isn’t a long-term solution to poverty, but while as a country we waste 10 million tonnes of food every year, we believe we should be respectful of the world’s resources by diverting as much as possible to feed people in need. Donating surplus can change lives and we (M&S) make the process simple for you. It’s all about getting your food surplus direct to the groups that can put it to good use. And importantly, the surplus is free for every local cause to use.
M&S Neighbourly is home to a network of over 11,000 charities, schools and community groups across the UK and Ireland. All charities and community groups are verified and have the necessary standards of food hygiene. It’s all about getting surplus direct to the people who need it most: homeless centres, schools, breakfast clubs, community centres, community fridges, community cafes, night shelters, refuges, churches (including PCF Baptist) and hospices. read more on M&S Neighbourly website …
We have just added a testimony section below, of people happy to share wonderful testimonies of how they have been blessed by this surplus-food service.
Food Surplus Testimony
One of our faithful food distributors, was concerned; as that she was running out of disposable gloves and finding it hard to get them anywhere … so Sue did; what Christians do … she prayed “Father God you know my needs, please provide some gloves for me to be able to do this essential food service”. The very next person on the list was a lady in Parkwood. As she received her food package, she noticed she was wearing protective gloves, so she disappeared indoors and returned to donate two boxes of disposable gloves, as she is a hair dresser, but not being able to work due to lock-down. In addition she gave her a box of eggs. She was blown away with her generousity and went off to the next person on her list, where she added the box of eggs in with the other produce. When the lady saw what was in the parcel, she was amazed “you aren’t going to believe this … ‘I was just thinking, where am I going to get eggs’, I’ve run out and my children love eggs for tea, thank you so much”. Some may call this a coincidence, but I know this, the more we pray the more ‘so-called’ coincidences occur! We give thanks to God for His bountiful provision.
Community Meeting Place & Soft Play Centre
After meeting with our MP Rehman Chishti, we identified the need for a Community Project – Meeting Place for the elderly & a Soft Play Centre for children with needs and their parents. Our church Parkwood Christian Fellowship – member of the Baptist Union.
There are two possibilities being considered, one is an orangery idea across the front of the church or the idea below, each of which are being discussed in our church meetings to find the best way forward for the church and the local community.
The other option is building it on the ground opposite the fish and chip shop at PCF Parkwood Rainham, Kent ME8 9NP. This option would still be on one level, with a nice courtyard area & skylight windows. The soft play area will be double-glazed to reduce noise. The already established and successful www.3sixteen.co.uk Coffee Shop will be relocated inside, to provide quality fresh cooked meals and snacks. The soft play will have days allocated to children with needs, so parents can relax, while their children play in a safe environment. The council have made a donation so far and a number of businesses have pledged donations. Local businesses will have an option to buy a brick engraved with their business name for a donation of £1,000. Families donating £250 will have their name on a brass plaque. Any amount will be received with much appreciation. M&S having been donating their surplus-food, which we have managed to distribute to the local needy families, if you know of a family-in-dire-straits; near you, that could benefit from free food, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Parkwood Christian Fellowship are focused on charitable acts to their local community, providing food, faith and support as appropriate.