Six Months On - The Message
11 Oct 2023

Six Months On

We can’t believe it’s been six months since we opened our first Community Grocery in London! Already we have over 1,300 members accessing affordable food for their families in the store and coming along to free wrap-around support courses too. We’re hearing amazing stories of what God is doing in the lives of our members as they shop and hear more about the hope of Jesus. 

We caught up with the Ilford Community Grocery manager, Alvaro, to find out what’s been happening.

‘It’s humbling to hear people’s stories as they come into the store, but what’s even more humbling is hearing how the grocery is making a real difference to people’s lives. As we get to know our members, we’re able to talk to them, offer to pray with them about what they’re going through, and to share the gospel as we do it’, says Alvaro.

‘A few weeks ago, Wendy* and her two kids, both under the age of four, came into the store. One of the girls has autism, and Wendy shared that she often struggles with her own mental health because of the challenges she faces. As I got chatting with her, Wendy began to open up about how overwhelming caring for her daughter can be, and how she often feels lonely. She said that shopping is normally a nightmare for the family, made worse by being anxious about her finances. 

‘Hearing this, our team swung into action. Whilst Wendy’s daughter was being looked after in the churches sensory room that is next to the grocery, the team told her all about the Community Grocery and what’s on offer. As we explained how the £5 membership works and showed her what’s included in a shop, Wendy said she was so moved at the love she was experiencing and felt like she had a fresh hope for the future. Someone even offered to pay for her shop for her, and off the back of this we got to tell her how loved she is by Jesus.

‘Whilst she was in the store, we also mentioned the parents and toddlers group our partner church run, and how it’s open to anyone. The next week, Wendy was there and has been coming along ever since. She’s also started coming along to church services, and has said she hopes to come to the next Alpha course!’

‘This is what it is all about’, says Pastor Steve Derbyshire, who leads City Gates Ilford, our Community Grocery partner church. ‘It’s about helping to provide what our community needs, sharing the gospel as we do and we’re seeing God transform lives. I’ve watched the team at work and the level of care they give is amazing. Jesus made friends with people, and when you share the gospel from that place too like we do at the Community Grocery, it is all the more powerful.’ 

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Find out more about our network of Community Groceries at communitygrocery.org.uk