TUESDAY, 20 DECEMBER 2022: The new initiative of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God and the Holy Royal Martyrs in London, to provide a Food Bank for those in need in the present cost-of-living crisis and a challenging time of year, has recently been expanded due to a far greater response than had been anticipated, both in terms of need and in terms of donations.

To date, in only its first three weeks of operation, the Food Bank has distributed more than 112 boxes of food, free of charge, to those requesting them. The supplies have come from donations by parishioners of the Cathedral, as well as through benefactors and charitable organisations, whose contributions are being coordinated by a special committee of the Parish Council that has been formed to operate the Food Bank.

‘A large food donation delivery was made last Wednesday,’ notes the project coordinator, Simon Tingley, ‘and on Saturday the 17th of December, after the Divine Liturgy, the Food Bank group helped pack and organise boxes in preparation for distribution. In addition, the congregation continued to bring food to donate, which is being collected in the Bishop’s office, which he has offered for the use of the project and which was very busy. As we were packing boxes, at the same time, people were arriving to pick up food.

‘That morning 25 boxes were given out to people in need. The very next day, on Sunday the 18th, our donations crate in the Cathedral was newly-overflowing with donated food, and even as we set about packing it, people kept bringing more food to donate. We were reminded of the biblical account of the widow of Zaraphath: as the food was given out more food arrived (‘For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry’,  1 Kings 17.16).’

Inspired by the desire of the Cathedral parish to help those who are in need, the Bishop and clergy have urged all faithful, when coming to the Divine Services in the Cathedral throughout each week, to bring with them an item of non-perishable food that can be added to the donations, and to make this a habit on each occasion of arriving at the church — and the response has been overwhelming. So, too, has the impact upon those receiving the parcels of food prepared by the parish and freely offered.

‘We have met people who had not been to church for a long time,’ Simon continued, ‘who were overwhelmed by how the church is helping them by freely giving a food box to help at this difficult time.’

Those interested in supporting this cause are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable foods to the Cathedral at any scheduled Divine Service, which can be left in the large donations crate near the main doors. Those who wish to make donations of larger quantities of food or supplies, or in other ways assist with the project, are invited to contact its coordinator at: charitablefoodbank@gmail.com.

If you wish to make a financial donation to the Food Bank project, you can do so here: