Alton Webteam: June 2020
I am sure that you are aware that even whilst the sun shines many families are struggling due to being off work or indeed sadly being made redundant. We remember them in our prayers and trust that as one door closes another may soon open bringing fresh opportunities.
Some of our church members have also been actively involved in running the local food bank and this week one of our friends from Alton, Judy Nicholls shares some reflections and insights...
Alton Food Bank's distribution centre in the Market Square re-opened its doors this week, with strict safety measures in place.
Four volunteers are present at every session: one at the door, allowing only one client at a time to enter the premises; one to deal with the referral; and two to deliver the pre- packed bags of groceries and toiletries to a table beside the door for collection by the client.
Items such as cleaning materials, toilet rolls and pet food are ranged along the counter and can be added, as necessary.
Sadly, it's not possible to sit and share a client's concerns over a cup of tea as we used to do, but there is still time for a quick chat and a short prayer.
The distribution centre will be open for 3 sessions a week: Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 12.30 — 2pm and Saturdays from 10.30 — midday.
At a session during the first week of opening, Sarah Broadbent presented Ian Dane, Food Bank Manager, with a cheque for £500 from the Ecumenical Coffee Mornings that were held every Tuesday at the Methodist Church.
From the beginning of lockdown until now, the Food Bank has been operating a home distribution service and has managed to meet a four- fold increase in demand. Some weeks it has delivered 1,000kg of food to a total of 50 families. It has received great support from the local community, with increased food and financial donations and practical assistance.
The Food Bank is now working with the referral agencies to move clients onto the Trussell Trust's e-referral system so they can be referred electronically, rather than with a paper voucher. To facilitate this, Sian Mills has been appointed as Distribution Centre Administrator.
Items currently in short supply are:
Fruit Juice, Tinned Potatoes, Jam, Peanut Butter, Sponge Puddings and Chocolate.
Donations can be left at Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Newbury Building Society, outside The Maltings
building or at the distribution centre during opening hours. Any cheques should be made out to Alton Food Bank.
Ian and his team have done a great job in ensuring that no one in Alton or the surrounding villages need go hungry at this difficult time.
Thank you for supporting your local food bank with gifts and donations and also much needed practical support.
What a moving sight to see so many people line the streets of Alton in honour of Bob Weighton whose funeral service took place last week.
As the hearse drove past people clapped and showed Bob and his family great respect. The service at Basingstoke Crematorium was beautifully led by Debbie Thompson of the 'Anna Chaplaincy'. She knew Bob so well and spoke so eloquently, sincerely and compassionately about his life.
It was also lovely to see so many friends from the church gathered and to be able to meet one another again!
Carole and Ches had a lovely Ruby Wedding celebration on the Green outside of Hale Methodist Church where they were married.
Church Opening Update...
With news this week that churches may open for gathered worship from July 4th (without singing!) you can guarantee that the required risk assessments will now be done and behind the scenes people will be working hard to work out how we can begin to resume gathered worship safely and what form it will take. Please be patient as we await Methodist Church guidance. It is likely that we will continue with on-line services through July and August — Most of all we want everyone to be and to feel safe!
For each step we take — Be our guide, O Lord of life.
For each load that we might bear, be our strength O Lord of life. Amen
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