On Christmas Eve, St Mary’s Andover partnered with organic food company Able & Cole, and the Waitrose Farm Shop on the Leckford Estate, to reduce food waste and deliver fresh fruit, veg and other food stuffs to their local community.
Using surplus food supplies generously donated by local business, the team from ‘the Lighthouse’ (St Mary’s social outreach project) prepared Christmas hampers and delivered them to homes around Andover. Deliveries were made using the church’s mobile mission, The Life Bus, which is used to reach those who are vulnerable, isolated or have an issue accessing provision.
The church also opened its doors to ‘The Lounge’, a safe and relaxed, home-from-home style space where the wider community could come and enjoy great coffee, presents under the tree, Christmas tunes aplenty – as well as taking home some delicious food.
“Being involved brought Christmas to life for me this year. I was humbled by peoples’ kindness – our volunteers (many gave up the entire day) – and the people we were able to bless with food, but mostly they were less interested in taking food for themselves, but taking a box for a neighbour, a friend or a relative. The building was full of joy – I think we all got a little closer to the heart of the Christmas story. Everyone knows things are challenging at the moment and this was a great way to share some Jesus inspired Christmas love!” said the Revd Lauren Cheshire, curate at St Mary’s.