Hackney foodbank at Stoke Newington officially opened last week with a well attended service at St Matthias church. The vicar, Father David Lambert, described how a chance conversation with the head teacher of next door St Matthias primary school was instrumental in the foodbank’s creation.
The head teacher was looking to get rid of some port-a-cabins just at the moment that Fr David was looking for somewhere to have the foodbank store. A freight company moved the port-a-cabin down the road for free and a scaffolding company donated old pieces of wood for shelving. The ground was flattened with money raised by the school children with a sponsored ‘no school uniform day’.
Fittingly, pupils from St Matthias were stars of the show at the opening service. The choir sang ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon before answering Fr David’s questions about foodbanks. Their responses show that the younger generation understand the spirit of foodbanks.
What do foodbanks mean? “they mean giving”, “helping other people” .
Who’s responsible for running foodbanks? “we are”.
Who’s welcome to come to foodbanks? “all those in need”.
Hymns and reading were interspersed with talks by people involved with the foodbank movement. Here are two extracts of these talks.
Helen Moules, project manager of the Shoreditch Group (a Christian organisation), sets out some shocking and illuminating statistics about poverty in Hackney.
Revd Andrew Jones, chairman of Hackney foodbank, explains that all faiths are welcome at foodbanks.
Chris Mould, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, finished off the service. He described foodbanks as “a movement gripping the country” and said “people don’t want to live in a nation where people go hungry, next to people who have more than enough.” His final piece of advice to the new foodbank was: “Don’t count how much food you get, count how much food you give out.”