Food, fun and friendship at St Catharine’s

Published: Monday August 23, 2021

Three smiling ladies in the church kitchen wearing aprons

St Catharine’s in Gloucester has been helping local families to have access to food over the summer holidays. It’s part of a long-term project to be at the heart of the community in Gloucester, helping to respond to the needs of everyone locally.

The Revd Jo Pestell, Vicar at St Catharine’s Gloucester said: “As summer 2020 approached we were aware through our partnership with our Church of England primary school that many local families were struggling for food, so we began to provide weekly food, a safe place to talk, and signposting to support services for these families. We were keen this summer to extend what we have been offering, and together with Gloucestershire County Council offer picnics and meal bags to replace free school meals.”

Every week, over 70 children have been coming to the church to enjoy fun activities alongside the food provision. Members of the church and the local community have also been bringing fresh fruit and veg from their allotments, and many people have also been stopping for tea and cake.

“Some lovely friendships have developed and as a church, we have also had our eyes opened to some desperate situations faced by people in our parish,” Jo said.

“In some ways, it feels a tiny thing we have been able to do, but God has a good track record in taking our humble offerings and doing so much more with it.  We feel we have been able to offer moments of joy and hope, a place for people to be heard, and to pray and be prayed for.

“We try to welcome all and show that God is interested in all aspects of who we are and what is happening in our lives, and aim to have lots of fun in the process!”

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