Everyone at The Church Page was delighted to hear that Lorraine McAllister, the Church Outreach Worker at High Kirk Presbyterian Church Ballymena has been awarded the British Empire Medal (B.E.M) in the recent New Year’s Honours List.
Lorraine received the award in recognition of her Services to the Community of County Antrim. Over the years, she has been actively involved in the life and witness of the busy Thomas Street congregation.
The former childminder is a beacon within the Hope House project on Ballymena’s Doury Road estate or the Bob’s Store initiative, which provides food for people in need. According to Lorraine, requests for help in this way have increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said: “Pre-COVID, we would have been giving out 10 to 15 bags per week. However, with the rise in unemployment and domestic violence, this has increased to about 70-80 Bags of Blessing.”
Baby Bob, a ministry which provides baby-grows, hats and other items that are required by soon-to-be mums as also been busy in recent days.
Lorraine adds: “We work very closely with Social Services and Women’s Aid and the mums are now getting something lovely and new for their wee baby as they go into hospital.
“Christmas was also a busy time for us; normally we are giving out toys to children who do not have a lot but this year we gave out £1,100 of toy vouchers to little kiddies as well as hampers made up of Fairtrade goods to the ladies in Women’s Aid, Ballymena.”
Despite being part of so much of what is good in Ballymena, Lorraine admits that she was ‘shocked’ to be awarded her BEM and found it hard to keep the news a secret from those closest to her.
The modest mum went on to say: “I feel very honoured and privileged to receive the award. I am also very aware that I have a great team of people who help me by storing, packing and delivering food through all the restrictions and regulations we work under. I am aware that without them and God calling and equipping me I could not do the work that I do.”