Lent appeal 2014

Feeding the hungryvicar zoe

With half a million people in the UK  dependent on food handouts, this year’s Lent Appeal will focus on spiritual and practical ways of tackling food poverty.

The desperation of many families as they struggle to get by is being highlighted by a national campaign – End Hunger Fast – which is calling for churches to pray, to fast, and to give in support of the hungry.

 Focusing on this as a diocese we want to encourage churches to use Lent as a time of fasting, praying, and giving, and to focus on ways in which we can do more to help our struggling neighbours.

Your donations given during Lent will go to two local projects that help to put healthy food on people’s plates.

The Edible Churchyards scheme encourages land around churches to be used for growing, with the produce being shared by the growers and the wider community.

One such scheme is run at St Paulinus Church, Ollerton, where a garden with raised beds adorns the front of the church. Work started on it in October 2012 and brought the town together, providing the Church family with an exciting opportunity to engage with the community.

People who grow the produce can pick it and eat it; some is given away to people in the community; the produce used in the church’s harvest festival went to a foodbank.

‘Veggie ranger’ Tracey Goodwin said peas, chard, sweet corn and tomatoes had been grown during the first season – and was expecting a bigger crop this year.

But they are not the only things that will grow in the garden: “It is a place that provides a wonderful opportunity to share,” said Tracey. “It feels natural to talk about what God has done.”

The Revd Zoe Burton, vicar at St Paulinus, said: “The garden is a wonderful project, it is at the church but it is a community garden.

“At Messy Church we had soup and made it using produce from the garden. The toddler group visited the garden and there is something for me about the holistic effect of being in the garden, the children can touch the produce.”

A fund will be created using the donations collected during Lent, and churches inspired to use a patch of their land for growing produce will be able to apply for a grant to help get the project  started.  The money could be used for buying materials, tools or plants.

To find out how to apply for a grant  email richard.ellis@southwell.anglican.org

In Nottingham, a project at the St Ann’s allotments grows fruit and veg that is packed into bags and sold across the city, at a heavily discounted price to people on certain benefits.

Ecoworks is all about growing and sharing food, and supporting people who are socially disadvantaged by offering activities connected to conservationDSC_1138 and restoration of the environment.

It runs a market garden and a community garden, tended by a team of volunteers. The market garden is focused on food production and on-the-job training in all aspects of gardening, growing vegetables, garden construction and landscaping.

The community gardens comprise ten allotment plots and have been open to the community for 21 years, supporting and working with vulnerable people. Activities include planting, harvesting, landscaping, green crafts and allotment cooking/preserving.

One of the results of all this industry are the bags of healthy, tasty seasonal vegetables and fruit that are packed up at the charity’s base in Hungerhill Road and sold at 16 community collection points in greater Nottingham.

‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ – Matthew 24:35

Click here to find out more about End Hunger fast