Crinken’s Storehouse Provides Food For Families in Need
St James’ Church, Crinken, has been operating a foodbank from a building beside the church since last spring. Here the Rector, the Revd Trevor Stevenson (pictured), tells the story of how the Storehouse came about.
By Trevor Stevenson
During the Autumn half term break last year I was away with the family and I bought a local newspaper. The headline read, “27% of all Irish Children go to bed hungry every night.” As I read the article I had a knot in my stomach thinking if that was true of my two boys what would I think. All week the article disturbed me and so on Sunday back in church I recalled the story and asked the congregation what we were going to do about those who were hungry. I had no answers but just knew we had to do something.
Many responses came back from the congregation and so I met with various agencies and charities working within our community. It became very clear that this was an issue affecting local families in our own community. It was also very clear to me from God’s message to us on the subject as we read in 1 John 3:17–18, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in truth and deed.”
So with a request from local charities for Christmas hampers the congregation got to work to deliver enough hampers. The response was overwhelming. But in my conversation with local organisations they said, “Trevor, is there any hope of getting us hampers for the first week in January when kids go back to school and food in homes is almost non–existent.”
I was a little unsure with the goodwill of Christmas over whether we could rise to this or not. I made no promise but said I would try. We did manage to provide hampers for both before and after Christmas and one worker told me, “I thought you might be able to provide hampers for Christmas but did not think you could manage hampers for the New Year.”
This started another conversation and the outcome was that two local charities asked us if we would consider starting a food store where they could send clients to.
So in February we got to work on cleaning out an old garage at the side of the church that was full of junk and consequently opened what is now known as “The Storehouse”, so named after the Bible verse of Malachi 3:10.
Our own 10 year olds (known as Champions of Hope) chose to raise funds for an “at home” project this year. During Lent they raised awareness of the struggles some families experience in making ends meet and everyone was encouraged by their slogan: “I can, You can, We all can, BRING A CAN”.
To date hundreds of individuals have been helped. The Storehouse has always had a supply of food to meet that week’s needs and on occasions we have been able to send food to the Methodist food bank in Tallaght with our surplus.
None of this would have been possible without the ongoing support of those in our church who bring food to church every Sunday and place it in the shopping trolley at the back of the church. Each packet of cereal, each box of teabags, each tin etc. is so much appreciated. While a small team might be working in the Storehouse on a Thursday morning, the whole church is involved. I heard of a young lady in our church celebrating her 18th birthday and her friends asked her what she would like for a present. She said I do not need a present but if you wish bring some food for the storehouse. Four big shopping bags arrived full of food for the Storehouse.
We are also so grateful to Kill O The Grange Parish Church who have and are supporting us with the provision of food and after their harvest we were blessed by an abundance of food. We are also delighted that, as part of the Come and C project, Rathmichael Parish will be partnering with us in helping us supply food to those who have little or nothing.
The response from those who are helped is one of genuine gratitude and they leave with a sense of feeling cared for and valued. As the Storehouse is around the side of the church and folk do not have to be seen or pass through a crowd of people, they can come and go with a sense of dignity and their pride still intact.
[St James’ Church, Crinken, will host a Christmas Tree Festival from December 4 to 6. Entitled “Journey to Bethlehem” the festival will tell the Christmas Story in a unique and enchanting way. More than 40 trees will be decorated by local schools, community groups, and businesses.
The Christmas Tree Festival will be open on Friday December 4 between 10.00 am and 9.00 pm; Saturday December 5 from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm; and on Sunday December 6 from 2.00 pm to 8.00 pm.
Admission is free but donations are welcome to the Storehouse and festival expenses. See https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasTreeFestivalCrinken, or www.crinken.ie for more details.]