Did you know that today over 4,800,000 families in the UK now struggle to put food on their table every single day? And this figure is skyrocketing as the Covid crisis continues. Never in all our time working in some of the poorest communities across our nation have we seen a need as urgent as the one we face today.
Through our Community Grocery in Manchester, we are meeting more and more families who are struggling during this time. However, we are also perfectly placed to reach out and meet the physical and spiritual needs of the people we meet each day.
One of the people we have been able to reach is Jennifer – a mother of four girls who we met during the first lockdown.
Unable to work due to ill health, she and her partner had spent years struggling to control their debt. As the country closed down, her partner lost his job. Within three weeks all their money was gone, and they didn’t know where the next meal was coming from. It was then that we got in touch with Jennifer and started delivering meals to her family.
One of our team delivering meals to Jennifer and her family during this time was Lucy. Over the weeks, Lucy and Jennifer got to know each other and started chatting more about life and faith. On one visit, Jennifer was sharing how she needed more hope in her life and Lucy offered her a Bible which she took and started reading straight away with her little girl.
As lockdown eased, life didn’t get easier. But then Jennifer heard about the Message Community Grocery opening in Sharston and started coming along each week to get her shopping. For just £3 a shop, Jennifer was able to get all the food she needed to look after her family.
‘Calling the grocery a lifeline isn’t enough, I can’t describe what they’ve done for me and my family. Without them my kids would eat but my partner and I wouldn’t,’ said Jennifer. ‘My belief in Jesus has been brought back to life again, and I want to know more about Christianity now. Every time a meal arrived during lockdown it had a little verse on it, and this always spoke to me about something I was going through.’
‘If I’m honest, I’d reached the end of the road, but Covid and the support of the Message Community Grocery has brought me back to God.’
After being so impacted by the work of the Community Grocery, Jennifer pays-forward two shops a week for other families who are struggling as a way of giving back to the local community.
Jennifer’s family is just one of the hundreds of families we have seen coming to the Community Grocery to support this year. The need is great, but we are determined to do something about it.
In 2021, we have a vision to start 12 brand new Community Groceries across the UK to bless more families who are struggling as a result of Covid-19. These groceries will provide both physical food and spiritual support for people looking to explore more about the Christian faith. Please join with us in prayer as we raise money for these new groceries and pray that many lives will be transformed by the love of Jesus through our work in 2021.
You can donate to our Christmas Appeal and help us open more Community Groceries, below. For more information about the Community Grocery, visit communitygrocery.org.uk