I wanted to take a few moments to thank you all for your hard work and service over Love Sunbury and Joy @ Kempton Park. Heading up social transformation is such an honour and privilege. There is always so much to do, but today I have taken some time to share my thoughts with all you amazing volunteers.
As a Community Foodbank we’ve made some wonderful relationships with local people, organisations and businesses over the past couple of years. By partnering with them we were able to grow the Kick Start Project - ‘Love Sunbury’ which was actually what we already do in our community but this time is was on a larger scale.
Improving lives for local families in some kind of need, as a hand up not a hand out, is the core of what we do. We have learned that a simple act of love can cause an endless ripple and we wanted to take that concept and condense it into a week of social transformation. During the week we managed to transform 15 rooms in 7 houses; bedrooms, kitchen, living room, clearing alley ways, transforming gardens, painting fences and so much more. I’ve included a video below of one of our clients feeding back on what it mean to her personally (or click here to watch it now). We were also able to (through community, business, our church and Awesome kids and youth volunteers) litter pick around our streets, revitalise the local youth centre and reach out to the vulnerable in our community through practical acts of love. Seeing children, youth and adults alike all come together as one body for one purpose was truly beautiful.
But this wasn’t the start or the end of Love Sunbury, we are constantly looking for new social transformation opportunities and always looking for people to come onboard and join us. We’d love to hear from you if you know someone local we can help and also if anyone would like to be part of theincredibly servant hearted team we have here - come and speak to me!
Feeding the 5,000 – Joy @ Kempton Park
I’ve always believe that food invites - it fills tummy’s, souls and spirits. It connects us to each other and brings people together. It’s common in my house to all get around the dinner table, we eat together and no one leaves the table until the last person has finished (despite the negotiations from my children). In this way we share our lives daily and it promotes feelings of belonging, love and connection. I think Jesus knew what he was doing when he met with people around a table.
The story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21) has always resonated with me. The overflow of provision, from almost nothing – a few bread and fish. The surprise and worry that must have come from his disciples I can now understand a little better! My initial thoughts when we decided to feed 5,000 at Joy @ Kempton were excitement but to be honest there was much fear too. How could we do it? What do we need? What if we couldn’t achieve it? I began to look to see if others had done anything similar and where to start, how to cook the food, how many volunteers we’d need and so on. Somewhere along the line I realised something – Jesus blessed what the small child had offered his team and it was plentiful. So I decided to do the same, like a child asking for a father’s blessing I began to look up for answers. I remember being at a New Wine’s leaders conference shortly afterwards and was blown away by a seminar on social transformation – it really spoke to me and suddenly I felt reassured, I was revitalised and ready to act!
Once we got started, at every obstacle that came I kept looking upwards for help and each time I did; things happened. My trust was now in Him and not my own efforts. Let me tell you, that doesn’t mean it was easy! I knocked on doors and some stayed closed but thankfully others opened. But thankfully my heart has been (unknowingly) preparing for two years now with all the work that has been happening through our foodbank – I had to remind myself we already regularly feed and support over 400 families.
Although the lead up to Joy @ Kempton Park was challenging, on the day itself people came early, ready and joyful. There was an expectancy in the air and it was infectious. There was a real sense of team spirit amongst the ‘set up’ and ‘food prep team ‘and this carried into the cooks and servers later on. As a result we were able to feed 2,000 people! The food was plentiful and it was served hot which was an amazing achievement and I am so deeply thankful for every single volunteer whether they were wrapping hundreds of forks in napkins, serving people with a smile or flat out cooking in the ridiculously HUGE pot we were given access to – thank you “pot man”!
Feeding 2,000 people was amazing, I know I say that word a lot but it really was. But, it wasn’t 5,000.
There was always a contingency plan if 5,000 people didn’t come to the event and that was to pack up our surplus food (which itself was sourced from surplus food!) to be sent out feed the homeless that evening and others in need around London though our ‘Food For All’ volunteers.
Here’s the thing though…they reported back later that the surplus food actually ended up feeding over 3,000 people afterwards! Which meant we did it! 5,000 people were fed on surplus waste food that we have sourced – just not the way we had expected it. The vision came to fruition – we are all literally mind blown!
Thank you for reading all this, I wanted to give you a tiny snippet of what was going on in the background and I hope I have managed to do that. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.
I want to specifically thank (in no particular order) Johnson & Johnson, Enterprise Harding, Tesco Sunbury, Aldi Feltham, Harding & Harding, Felix Project in Park Royal, Food for All, Feed the Hungry, Janies Kitchen, Costco Sunbury, Farm Foods Sunbury, Spelthorne Council, Community Pay Back Team, every single volunteer person/family and of course our very own beautiful hearted Community Foodbank / Love Sunbury Core Team – this really was a team effort and I cannot thank each of you enough.
I start to wonder - what else could we do as a community to help highlight food waste and food poverty in the UK? What else could we believe for or imagine to help transform our communities?
Claire Hopkins Social Transformation Pastor