A new report launched this week has estimated that churches across the UK have provided more than 5 million meals per month during the coronavirus pandemic. The report, released by YourNeighbour, suggests many of those meals have been provided to frontline workers, those who were self-shielding and individuals too embarrassed to ask for help.
Throughout 2020, the crisis in food poverty has been highlighted time and again with the increased demand for food banks and the advocacy work being done by high profile spokespeople such as Marcus Rashford.
Tim Pikington, Director of YourNeighbour says,
“During lockdown we have seen a remarkable response from the British church, the buildings were closed but the Church was open. The Church responded quickly and creatively. As well as churches providing, what we estimate to be more than five million meals per month to those in need, they have also played a vital role in providing emotional and spiritual needs through pastoral and bereavement support, domestic violence interventions and mentoring, among others.”
YourNeighbour, has been a UK-wide church response to Covid-19. In the 6-week period after the onset of lockdown the founders built a network of over 1,100 churches with denominational partners including the Church of England, Salvation Army, Baptists Together, Assemblies of God, Vineyard, and the Methodist Church. The new report, The Church in Lockdown, highlights a number of areas where churches have been active in responding to the emergency needs felt across the country.
In addition, the report found that 90% of surveyed churches supported the vulnerable with 58% providing emergency food, 57% providing befriending services to the elderly and isolated, and almost half of the surveyed churches started a new community engagement initiative during the pandemic
“In the midst of today’s challenges, we have seen how church-based programmes are well-positioned to help communities during the long-term recovery from Covid-19. We have seen new partnership opportunities between churches and local authorities develop and our hope is that this is a foundation from which we can build over the coming months.”
To find out more about YourNeighbour and The Church in Lockdown report go to https://yourneighbour.org