Presbyterian Moderator praises the work of Storehouse North Down.
On a pre-Christmas visit to Storehouse North Down in Bangor, Presbyterian Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Charles McMullen, praised the work of the charity as a ‘deeply caring and compassionate ministry’ and ‘a tremendous demonstration of churches, community and businesses coming together to show the love of God.’
Storehouse North Down
Set up in 2012, the charity provides emergency food packages to individuals and families in the North Down area who find themselves in a difficult situation through no fault of their own. Each package provides everything that the family, or an individual, will need for 7 days. All those in need are referred to the Storehouse by churches, charities and various agencies with support ranging from one-off requests to continued support over a 6 month period.
Margaret Bailie, chairperson of Storehouse North Down, and a member of Bangor West Presbyterian Church, said that over 3300 people benefit from its work each year.
“Our vision is that we will see the day coming when no one in North Down has to go hungry. When we started in September 2012 we gave out 17 hampers in our first month, 6 years on that has increased to around 40 per week, 160 a month.”
“Last year alone there were 1800 hampers distributed, which included 500 food packages at Christmas time. One of the main reasons for this increase I think is the changes to the benefit system, especially because people in need have to wait such a long time for their new benefits to kick in. Sadly, the need is there and it is growing,” she said.
Storehouse North Down covers Holywood across north County Down to Bangor along the coast to Donaghadee and down the Ards Peninsula.
“We partner with many different charities and agencies throughout our local communities who are working day in day out with families and individuals in difficult situations. No one knows when they might need our help and support and that always increases around Christmastime.
With the involvement of over 50 churches working together of all denominations , organisations like St Vincent de Paul and Christians Against Poverty, we can do so much together to show the love of Christ. But we couldn’t do it without the hundreds of people who share our dream and each week drop food into trolleys in churches across North Down.
We are also incredibly grateful to our volunteers and to the many businesses who support us as well, like ASDA in Bangor and Sainsbury’s at Holywood Exchange, who gave us around 50 trolleys full of food this year. Eurospar and the Co-Op in Bangor support us in different ways so, to them and all who also support us in our collections, we can’t thank you enough.”
Speaking after his visit, Dr McMullen praised the work of Storehouse, its volunteers and especially Margaret Bailie who he said was such a driving force.
“This is a deeply caring and compassionate ministry that makes such a difference and is having a profound impact on the lives of so many people.
It is also a tremendous demonstration of churches, community and businesses coming together to show the love of God, but it is an absolute tragedy that in this day and age it is needed and increasingly so.”
Dr McMullen said that he was ‘very touched’ by the label that accompanies all the hampers, which simply says ‘A small gift because God really loves you’. “Our Lord Jesus Christ told us to feed the hungry. He also said ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ As His disciples we also need to heed the words of the Apostle James who said, ‘…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead….faith without deeds is useless.” I give thanks that here at Storehouse so much action demonstrates an incredible faith and love of our neighbour.”
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