Last Updated on 26 July 2022 by Ann-Marie Nye
As the cost-of-living increases, a Dursley church has brought together people from across the community and beyond to offer surplus supermarket food for free.
Every Monday morning and on some Thursdays, food that would otherwise be thrown away is displayed on a bright red and yellow stall outside Dursley Tabernacle Church.
It has proved a hit with passers-by.
The stall is the latest development for the church’s food surplus team which has been delivering parcels to houses affected by Covid and food poverty since April 2020.
Volunteers from across the community have joined the team, which now partners with Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Lidl, Tesco and Aldi, collecting food near or at its sell-by date or that’s surplus to the stores’ requirements.
The market stall was provided by The Arcadian, a Birmingham shopping mall, which generously agreed to donate it when they heard about the Tabernacle’s scheme to rescue food destined for the bin.
Later this summer the church aims to launch a community food hub with increased opening times and a community fridge to add chilled food to what is already on offer.
Hub coordinator Leonie Luffingham said: “It has been remarkable to see the food surplus project expand and develop.
“Our vision is to help support people who may welcome a way of supplementing their weekly food shop and at the same time help reduce food waste. It is accessible to absolutely everyone.
“We are conscious that the cost-of-living increase is hitting many people and we hope this will help in a small way. We never quite know what we will get, but there’s almost always bread and pastries!
“A huge thank you must go to The Arcadian for the stall and to all our volunteers who collect and sort and deliver the food and flowers each week.”
The Revd Simon Helme¸ Minister of Dursley Tabernacle, added: “As a church we are inspired by Jesus’ example to feed and care for one another, and it has been fabulous to see how cross-community collaboration has enabled us to all explore how we can love our neighbour in practical ways.
“We hope the bright colours and the pastries will help bring a smile to people’s faces and even a little joy.”