We took a risk this week.
I'm still not sure whether we succeeded or not yet but I thought it only right to share with you for often it is only the stories of success that we share!
For the last 18 months my family and I have been increasing aware of how food poverty affects our local community.
Ministering in our local primary school, the place where both my children have been educated means I know actual names and faces of those children who are most affected by this. Its painful to come away into a season of school holidays knowing that for some families food will be rationed out to last until the return of the term and the gift of free school meals can be received. In many towns projects like Make Lunch have appeared, people rallying together to provide free meals to bridge the gap in food provisions to thousands and thousands of families across the country.
But nothing was happening in our town or at least in our school!
I do this thing, perhaps you do it too? Where I sense something, feel a need, get disturbed and ultimately pray. Whilst I am praying I am awaiting for someone else to work out a solution to the problem, something perhaps I can join in with but still waiting, neither the less, for someone else to be the answer to the question that disturbs me. Usually though nothing does actually happen, see frustratingly often the things that bug me don't bug those around me so when I wrote a proposal almost two years ago to take on a Make Lunch style project I wasn't surprised when it got turned down. But sometimes the pain in my heart doesn't go away, the needs become more obvious and the answer to my prayers is indeed myself!
So about a month ago I revisited the idea to impact food poverty in our local community. I approached the school and asked if they still felt the need was viable. Within the matter of days we had a partnership deal for space and use of facilities onsite at our local school and the funding in place to invite 60 children and their families to join us Monday - Friday throughout half term. The school were amazing at facilitating the sending of invites and communicating with us in the run up. It clearly appeared we had God's favour in Munch.
Undertaking the project under our Streetspace Bournemouth banner gave us access to a wider range of resources. It was an absolute delight to have two days of food prepared and served to us by adults with learning difficulties from a local day centre. Often written off as people who need others to provide services for them, there was something so special and biblical about seeing them serve others. Isaiah 61 talks about the 'they wills' its had my heart captivated for some years now and seeing it out play is truly a joy to watch. Numbers wise we didn't serve massive amounts, we didn't reach our target of serving 30 children a day but we did get to spend time with a few children and to really hear their stories. We made loom band bracelets, we played giant snakes and ladders, we talked about what home is like, what our favourite things are and we ate some really great food. At the table we modelled equality, whether we were from another country, had a disability, were a child, teacher or a parent, everyone had a place at the table.
Was it worth the risk?