Food for thought in Louth
With the all too real prospect of families going hungry this winter, Louth Methodists have embarked on a project to deliver practical help to people in their Lincolnshire market town.
The church has been running its ‘Lighthouse Project’ for some time.
‘Open Litehouse’ Wednesdays see them offering food, drinks, and activities to local folk.
On Friday, they provide breakfast and a cooked lunch for approximately thirty.
Thursdays are spent collecting for and assembling food parcels, which they provide along with sleeping bags, clothing, and other essential items.
But it became apparent that merely handing out food parcels to people was not always enough – many lacked the skills to actually turn them into a meal.
That’s when they started ‘EasyCook’ – two two-hour cookery sessions every Thursday.
‘Our mission statement is “Reaching out and bringing hope”,’ said church steward Heather Jeffrey – one of six who take it in turns to run the courses. ‘This is a rural market town, and there is lot of need to reach people at the margins.
‘We have a food bank, and we were getting a lot of leftovers – fresh ingredients, perhaps, or a couple of dozen cans of chickpeas. It became clear that some people just didn’t haven’t a clue what to do with some vegetables and chickpeas, for example, so we thought, why not help them?
‘We run two sessions free-of-charge every Thursday – in the mornings, young mums, who are often on a really tight budget, come and cook with us, and in the afternoons we run a second class in conjunction with Barnardo’s for young people leaving care.
‘Older people tended to learn this sort of thing as a matter of course, but some younger folk come to us with no real idea, and they can be a bit shy and nervous at first. But they love having a go, and before long they are creating healthy meals – it gives them a real sense of achievement, and the ability to cook affordable, nutritious, and tasty food at home.
‘It also brings people together socially, in a warm and relaxed environment.’
Heather said the church was ‘over the moon’ at being ‘unexpectedly’ named a winner.
‘The money will be extremely helpful,’ she said. ‘It will help us to provide more cooking equipment and ingredients and to keep the sessions free.’