A volunteer Youth Group in the town of March that provides monthly meals and a warm, safe space to chat, has organised and run an extra event during October to raise funds for the local Foodbank.
The community initiative in St John’s Parish known as ‘Chat-Tea’ has just celebrated its first year anniversary; the Church Hall has been hosting Chat-Tea on the first Sunday of each month since October 2018. The idea was thought up (and continues to be run) by St John’s Youth - a group of young volunteers aged between eleven and eighteen who wanted to do something to support local people in need.
In addition to the usual Chat-Tea meal on the first Sunday of the month, a further event was held on Sunday 13th October as part of the wider ‘Homeless Sunday’ project, which endeavours to raise awareness of homelessness and those who work tirelessly helping as volunteers.
Guests enjoyed the option of a three course meal including the main ‘dish of the day’ - a roast beef dinner with all the trimmings. For the second time running, delicious banana splits proved a very popular addition to the dessert menu; the fruit gratefully received via the community FareShare project, which allows St John’s to receive food donations from its local Tesco superstore to use for such outreach events.
The evening was well-attended with a very convivial atmosphere and raised a donation total of £126.65 for the Foodbank in March. Members of St John’s Youth hope that these funds will help provide not only food, but also sleeping bags and other cold weather essentials for those in need this winter.
This success followed only a week after the busiest regular Chat-Tea evening on record, which offered a menu of soup, sweet and sour chicken, jacket potatoes, fairy cakes, banana splits and black forest gateau. Attendance at this meal reached over 40 adults and children, raising over £120 in donations that will be re-invested into the scheme for future meals. Thanks go out to the leaders and volunteers for their ongoing hard work that is continuing to grow this amazing community outreach project.
Chat-Tea meals are drop-in sessions held from 4-6pm at St John’s Church Hall, Station Road, March on the first Sunday of each month. They are open to everyone and free to attend, although donations are accepted to help with the ongoing costs. For more information about this and other events at St John’s, search for @StJohnsMarch on Facebook.
To find out more about what you and your church could do to support homelessness, please visit the pages on our website here.
Article/Photo credit: Rebecca Parnell, Operations Manager, March Team Ministry (@RebeccaMarchChurches)