Food, glorious food...
It’s not something that we should ever take for granted: not in the world, nor in our local community. Food is precious. It is to be enjoyed and shared. And at The Oak we do just that: we gather together to share meals, prayers, love and friendship, and we bless others by sharing what we have.
As you know, The Oak Church has been key in setting up, developing and leading Leeds West Foodbank since June 2013. Since opening its doors in January last year, the project has grown to having 4 centres across west Leeds, and supported almost 5000 local people in crisis and food poverty, half of these children. People have been given emergency food parcels, signposted to other areas of support and shown compassion and love. Strong friendships have been formed within the 100+ strong volunteer team, as local people have come together to support their neighbours in need, the community has donated over 30 tonnes of food, and, most excitingly of all, people have come to faith in Christ. It has been a very busy 2 years!
Now is a time for a new season, as the Leeds West Foodbank grows and develops into an even stronger, bigger project. In order to facilitate this happening faster, the project’s steering group and management team, including myself as Project Lead, have stepped aside from our roles for now, handing over to the Leeds North foodbank team.
The Oak Church is still very much involved in the foodbank though by facilitating the Friday evening foodbank session in Farsley, and supporting the Leeds North team as the projects go through this transitional time.
So what next? Well….. we have learned from the foodbank project that the poverty and deprivation in our local community, particularly Farsley and Pudsey, is often hidden, and that there are very few local services to support people, even the Pudsey Citizens Advice Bureau was closed down this year. We also know that we have a wonderful God who loves people, and who has provided us with an incredible opportunity to reach out and bless people in need through the provision of a building, for worship and community services.
This is an exciting time. There are so many opportunities to develop and facilitate all sorts of different community projects.
Let’s start by thanking and praising God for all the amazing work He is doing in our lives and in our communities, then let’s seek Him together, wait and listen for His direction on what our community needs in order to be brought closer to Him.
Lets serve our Lord Jesus Christ together!