Rainham Foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust‘s UK-wide network of over 1200 foodbanks. The Foodbank is a Christian charity, seeded by RCCG King of Kings Community Church, to demonstrate the practical love of God in the community. The Foodbank was borne out of a sincere passion to see practical needs met within the community, irrespective of social status, conditions, race, etc. Clients receive help in re-discovering their real and misplaced values, can re-engage in society and faith, and manage isolation and loneliness. The Rainham Foodbank has been feeding and supporting over 10,000 local people in crisis since its inception in 2011. Over 95 tonnes of food have been received and over 90 tonnes have been distributed up to the present day.

St Alban’s Church in Elm Park marked a significant moment on January 10, 2024, as parishioners gathered to inaugurate their newly established social action group. The evening featured insights from the Director of Caritas Diocese of Brentwood, underscoring the importance of embodying faith and motivating all members to contribute their abilities and talents to the local community.

The meeting continued with a presentation by Yolene Ganga, the operations manager, and Julia Edgerton, the centre activities coordinator, from Rainham Foodbank. Dispelling the misconception that foodbanks solely provide food, they illuminated the diverse range of services offered. Beyond emergency food provisions, the foodbank extends support through donated clothing, pastoral care for emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being, advocacy services, financial and debt management, befriending programmes, basic skills training, a sewing initiative, and morning tea gatherings.

Inspired by this, the group eagerly contemplated ways to support the foodbank during the upcoming Lenten season.

Taking their commitment a step further, on January 19, 2024, the newly formed group embarked on a visit to the Rainham Foodbank, actively participating in the bustling Friday schedule as volunteers. Cathing up with Yolene and Julis and also meeting Pastor Aloysius Peter who set up the food bank. Mary-Rose, one of the parishioners, shared her poignant experience:

“The visit to Rainham Foodbank was truly eye-opening. It makes you realize the sheer number of people out there in need of help. Beyond just providing food, the foodbank offers vital support, including counselling, mental health assistance, and guidance to other essential services. What struck me the most was the sense of community spirit—volunteers coming together, friendly faces, and a palpable joy. I left with a profound sense of gratitude, knowing that I am not grappling with the challenges faced by many. It ignited a desire to contribute and make a difference, recognizing that life is unpredictable, and none of us truly knows what lies ahead.”

Volunteering at Rainham foodbank

St Alban’s parishioners will be using a personalised version of the Caritas DOB Lenten Giving Calendar to organise donations for the Rainham foodbank, to keep the strong connection they have formed with their local community.

If you would be interested in this and other Lenten resources click here.