True Fasting Week 04
Isaiah 58: 7-8
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
When we think about fasting we primarily consider it in terms of giving up food. That’s a choice that many of us have the luxury to be able to make. But for some giving up food is not a choice, it’s a necessity – a result of circumstances that are stacked against them, a cruel reality and potentially shameful reality.
Back in the summer of 2020 we felt strongly that people were falling through the gap when it came to access to food, particularly children who would ordinarily have received their free school meal at lunchtime. And we couldn’t stand by and do nothing, so we partnered with a bunch of other fantastic organisations to launch the Lockdown Hunger Project, feeding millions of people across the nation over the 6 week holidays.
This led to the germination of an idea about providing food to those who were hungry at low cost, whilst reducing the amount of waste generated by our supermarkets and retailers. Thus the Community Grocery was born – not just a hand out of a bunch of random food, but an honouring shopping experience where people get to choose what they want from a range of produce.
Isaiah talks about the redistribution of resources in our passage today – those who have much should share with those who have little. This is practical faith in action, being generous with what has been generously given to us.
One of the most beautiful things about the Community Grocery is the pay-it-forward model. Each shop costs £3 and often our members who come in will also pay for someone else so that their next shop is free, and write down an encouraging message for that person on a post-it note and stick it on a board for someone to claim a free shop later that day. In each of our stores, the boards full of post-it notes show all the shops that have been donated by those who don’t have much themselves, knowing that what they do have will make a huge difference to those who may have less.
Lord, break our hearts for those who are still struggling with hunger, homelessness and lack of access to resources. Loosen our grip on our own material possessions and resources and help us to give freely to help those who are on the edge. Would you help us better steward your precious resources and bring light into the darkest of communities.
Written by Sarah Small
To find out more about our Community Groceries and to donate a food shop to someone less fortunate, visit communitygrocery.org.uk