Saturday breakfast at St Paul’s Foleshill

The Revd Ali Hogger Gadsby writes about a change in Saturday breakfast at St Paul's, Foleshill. 

Our breakfast has been running for several years, providing free hot food and community to 100 homeless or vulnerable people each week. This is a short report made by BBC CWR last year. As the coronavirus situation worsened, we had to shut our building, but knew we needed to continue the essential provision if safe and possible.

For the last two weeks we have provided a stripped-down version of the breakfast, still with hot food and drinks, but to take away during a one-hour time slot. We serve from the carpark, with a minimal number of volunteers gathered now from different local churches, as several of our usual volunteers are aged over 70. It has been an amazing exercise in faith building, working out the risks and logistics of socially distanced provision, but knowing that those who come may not have hot food otherwise.

This is what some of our guests have said:

“The other places where we normally get food are closed, so this is a lifeline”

“I’m in emergency housing provided by the council, but there is nowhere to get hot food or drink. We need you to keep going!”

“I’m so grateful that you’re doing this for us”.

“The shops are increasing their prices and I can’t keep up”

Those we serve are vulnerable both physically and mentally to Covid-19, and continuing to be a presence that feeds their bodies and brings encouragement feels like an essential activity of the body of Christ, and a privilege. The words of Isaiah 58 are inspiring this work:

 Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of injustice,
    to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house

We are working out what it means to be church in a time of crisis, and therefore we can’t reproduce our old ways of ‘doing’ and need to listen for God’s prompting and wisdom.  This time reminds us of our own fragility, and that God will use us broken as we are. Please pray for us as we respond to growing need, and if you would like to help get in touch!