Feeding the hungry – a foundational mandate of the Church


Neil Cook, the Team Rector of Church Wigan, explains the importance of the work Church Wigan are undertaking, supported by the trust, to ensure struggling Wigan families are fed, cared for, and prayed for during the toughest period the world has known for many decades.

"From its birth 2000 years ago, in obedience to the teaching of Jesus Christ and the Hebrew scriptures, the Church has always sought to feed the hungry as a sign of God’s love for all. In Wigan there is a rich history of Christian churches of many denominations and traditions fulfilling this mandate, and Church Wigan is committed to sharing in this ministry of care.

At a time when our traditional ways of working are simply 'out of action', Wigan Deanery Trust is supporting this work by taking on the fundraising role more widely, and supporting us administratively as we launch a major campaign to raise funds through our own members.

Many of Church Wigan’s worshipping communities gather people around tables set with food, and especially include those who might otherwise be isolated or go without a decent meal. The people served span the whole of the age spectrum, from families with young children through to the elderly.

Church Wigan also has two specialist ‘food outlets’: St B’s based in St Barnabas church in Marsh Green, and Tom’s Pantry at St James Centre in Poolstock. Under the motto #FeedBelliesNotBins these outlets work with the Real Junk Food Project Wigan and Fur Clemt to redirect so-called ‘short dated’ food from supermarkets and wholesalers to those who might benefit from it.

The outlets are not food banks (which Church Wigan supports) but a complement to them. They are clubs where people can join for a nominal annual fee of £5 and can pick up items, from milk and loaves to fresh fruit and vegetables, twice a week for £2 per visit or ‘pay as you feel.’ The outlets intentionally don’t provide a handout; rather they promote dignity and empowerment by providing members with good quality food, a support community, and an opportunity to manage money and exercise choice.

In the time of the Covid-19 pandemic these outlets, in association with the Real Junk Food Project Wigan (which is run by members of Church Wigan), have become a major partner in sourcing and distributing free food parcels to people in need. Around 150 households every week are fed by food from the outlets.

While Covid-19 is magnifying need, we recognise that there will continue to be an important role for the food outlets beyond lockdown. They will remain an important part of Church Wigan’s mission as we live out God’s love by feeding the hungry."

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Page last updated: 21st April 2020 8:42 AM
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