Foodbanks in Northern Ireland

Many churches in Northern Ireland now manage their own foodbank or are part of a regional scheme where grocery and other items are donated and then distributed to the local community. But why do we need foodbanks in Northern Ireland?

Photo Credit: anabanansplit; Creative Commons
Photo Credit: anabanansplit; Creative Commons

Unfortunately for many people across our province they would go hungry if it wasn’t for the help offered by foodbanks! Unemployment, redundancy and long-term illness, static incomes but ever increasing fuel and food prices all contribute to many people needing help with everyday items like groceries.

Many of our local churches have seen the need and risen to the challenge to reach out into their communities with the practical help which God’s Word commands us to do  – “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same” Luke 3 v 11

Here’s what some local churches who are involved with us here at The Church Page have to say about their involvement with foodbanks.

St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland – ‘We are active supporters of the Ballymena Foodbank and our premises are a collection point for food. Regularly we are able to provide a considerable amount of food to the distribution centre’

Wellington Presbyterian Church – ‘More and more we’re finding people struggling to make ends meet; some find themselves in accommodation with little or no furniture, others have difficulty affording food. Our “Frontline Ministries” seeks to stand in the gap, gathering together non-perishable food and groceries, good quality used furniture and household items to be delivered by our volunteers. Please get in touch with Marbeth on 07841910349 if you’re in a situation where you need help or if you would be willing to provide groceries or your unwanted furniture.’

High Kirk Church also provides a ministry called ‘Bags of Blessings’ – ‘Members of our congregation bring non-perishable grocery items to church each week. These are then put into bags and collected by several local organisations including the Simon Community & Women’s Aid and distributed around the Ballymena area as the need arises. The fact that we are always needing donations emphasises the fact that there is a great need in our town! For more information about ‘Bags of Blessings’ please contact Lorraine on 028 2564 4834′

Providing much needed help in the Coleraine area is Causeway Coast Vineyard – ‘Causeway Foodbank provides short term, emergency food and groceries for individuals or families in crisis while a long tern strategy is developed. We are not providing a hand out but a hand up to those in our community who need it. Anyone willing to donate food items to this ministry or needing help from it, please contact 028 7032 6161 and you will be transferred to Vineyard Compassion.’

It’s great to see churches taking the lead with this type of outreach: showing God’s love by providing everyday needs to those who find themselves in financial difficulties. We hope this article helped to highlight some of the work being done by churches in Northern Ireland to support those who needs a hand in their local community.