29 November 2011
Working together to offer Christmas hampers
We have heard some great stories of churches working together, sometimes alongside other local organisations too, to bless those most in need in their area during the Christmas season. Here are just a couple to encourage and inspire you…
Churches in Barnet are working together to offer Christmas hampers to those who are in desperate need this Christmas. 'Christmas Lunch on Jesus' is a project that was started in 2007 by Jesus House church in Brent Cross. This year they are partnering with many other local churches, including Northwest Church, Hendon Baptist Church, St Barnabas and Salvation Army, Hendon.
The churches believe that Christmas is a time to share the love of God with everyone, so the hampers are not exclusively for people of any particular religion or faith. They recognise that the continuing recession means that there more and more people will find Christmas a particularly challenging time financially.
Hampers will be distributed to homes on 17 December packed with all the ingredients needed for a traditional Christmas dinner: turkey, stuffing, minced meat, Brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes and Christmas pudding. Most hampers will be given to people on benefits, including those receiving income support, jobseeker's allowance, incapacity benefit, severe disability allowance, attendance allowance or maximum housing benefit. Pensioners not receiving benefits can apply if they are recommended by a church in the borough or by a community agency such as Age Concern, Social Services, The Novo Centre, The Pupil Referral Unit or Turning Point.
To request a Christmas hamper, volunteer to help out or to donate, visit www.christmaslunchonjesus.com or call the Barnet hamper hotline on 0208 853 9501 by 2 December.
Both The Need Project of Kings Baptist Church in Stotfold and the Biggleswade Chronicle have been actively involved in reaching out to those in need at Christmas, but this year they have joined forces to offer seasonal hampers.
The Need Project has been running for four years and has grown significantly since it began. Food and other vital items are donated to the project and these are then given to those in need throughout the year. The project has distributed over 3,000 food parcels and other desperately required items over the years. The project helps people in Bedfordshire and occasionally in North Hertfordshire and receives requests from social workers, housing agencies and other official bodies. The Need believes that "a lot of people have heard of the love of Jesus, but not many people have experienced it and as a church we feel that meeting people's needs in a practical manner achieves this."
This is the 29th year running that the Biggleswade Chronicle's readers have collected food and gifts for the needy in the local area at Christmas. In order to reach a wider area, the paper has this year decided to pass all collected items onto the Need Project to distribute. The paper's appeal has been given yet another boost by two local shops, Budgens and Londis, agreeing to sell food for the hampers at a reduced rate.
Members of the public have been asked to drop off food and toys to the Chronicle's headquarters, and the project co-ordinator, Ken Lynch, is asking for monetary donations so that he can purchase the bulk of the food from the participating shops.