Heating Or Eating: No-One Should Have To Choose

The announcement that energy bills are going to increase by an average of £693 per household coupled with the soaring cost of food is impacting us all, but for the poorest in society, it could spell disaster. At The Message Trust, we work with families who are now facing a daily choice whether they go cold or hungry. A choice no one should have to make.

Whilst the Government has set out some extra money households will receive; this will only be a small help to families already struggling to put food on the table or indeed won’t stop millions more falling into poverty.

As the pressure on families increases, the demand for Message Community Groceries and the affordable food and wrap-around support they offer members is growing at a remarkable rate.

Begun after the first lockdown, as a bridge between foodbanks and supermarkets, Community Grocery members can come and shop in-store up to three times a week, for just £3 a visit – saving on average £30 per shopping trip.

Community Grocery members shop in store.

Step inside the store and members find the same range of products they’d expect to see in a local supermarket, including fresh fruit and vegetables, tinned goods, frozen food, sanitary, and household items. Today a network of 12 stores is keeping over 12,500 families fed across the UK, with new stores opening in Bedworth, Glasgow, and Burnley in the coming weeks.

But the stores are about more than food. Members get access to a wide range of free support from job clubs to debt management advice, with sharing the good news of Jesus sitting at the heart of it all.

Liz is one member who wouldn’t know where the next meal was coming from without the Community Grocery. Having found herself in debt through no fault of her own and unable to get support from her local foodbank she found herself, having to make a choice every day about whether to put the heating on or food on the table. She then heard about the Community Grocery where she could come and shop for just £3.

“Without the Message Community Grocery I’d struggle to put food on the table and I don’t know how I would cope. With food prices and the cost of heating going through the roof, life would be even more difficult. Coming to the Community Grocery has also brought my faith to life, as I’ve come into the store I’ve got to pray with the team and have become part of the local church. I now know God is there for me through everything,” said Liz.

Community Grocery members shop in store.

Andy Hawthorne, Chief Executive and Founder of The Message Trust explained that: “God hates poverty and we can’t stand by and do nothing. People need to hear the good news of Jesus in word and deed, and this is what the Community Groceries are all about. Every day we’re meeting families for whom life is desperate and they don’t know where to turn, and we know it’s the hope of Jesus. So, as we help members access affordable food for their families, we and our partner church share the gospel with them, pray for them and offer the support they may be missing. We’re seeing lives transformed and hundreds of members discovering Jesus for themselves. As things get more desperate for families we won’t stop now.”

With over 12,500 members already shopping in store, demand for Message Community Groceries is soaring. Can you help us reach more families than ever and keep them fed? To find out more or give head to message.org.uk/heatingoreating 

Written By: Kate Ruddick

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