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On 9th November, we held an event to mark The Well’s 10th Anniversary. It was a very special occasion, reflecting the incredible growth that God has brought to the project since it began in 2006.
We were joined by representatives of some of the referral agencies who partner with us, and whom we have come to deeply respect for their commitment, hard work and compassion towards the most vulnerable in our communities.
Along with these were those representing the many Churches, Schools, Businesses, other community projects and individuals who make up our incredible community of supporters.
Last, but absolutely not least, were some of our volunteer team from our first decade. These are the ones who have faithfully served at The Well and helped to make it what it is today:
- The administrative team – responding to phone referrals, helping with finance and general administrative tasks (they’re called the hot house flowers by the warehouse team because they don’t like the cold!)
- The hardened warehouse team (the arctic cold of Everest wouldn’t touch them!). Weighing and sorting the food donations, making sure each item has a ‘With Love from Jesus Christ’ sticker on it (because we all need to know we are loved), packing the parcels for each day
- The delivery team – criss-crossing the City in the afternoons, dropping off parcels to those without food, in houses, flats, hostels, or those terrible phrases we hear so often ‘sofa surfing’ or of ‘no fixed abode.’
We shared our story, with the help of friends of The Well. We didn’t celebrate the need, as all of us would want to see our City in such a place of prosperity, & wholeness that projects such as The Well are not needed. We did celebrate 2 things:
- The love, kindness & faithfulness of God
- How we have seen this expressed through the generosity of so many people, including many of you reading this article. Our heartfelt thanks to each one of you!
For those of you who were not able to join us (we received so many good wishes from those who were unable to) do enjoy the photos, and keep an eye out for the 10 Year statistics in a future Latest News.
Each year we are overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of our City, and are getting ready to receive your donations.
There continues to be a great need to support City residents who are in severe financial difficulties. We have seen an increase in families needing emergency food, and the cuts to statutory services mean that other avenues of support are less available to those in crisis.
So, if you are planning a Harvest Festival event with The Well in mind, we hope you will find this information helpful:
- The Well Harvest Shopping List 2015 These are the items that will be most appreciated this Harvest season.
- The Well-Map & Directions. For those who wish to drop off your donation, or we are happy to collect by arrangement.
- Harvest Presentation. If you would like one of our Team to speak at your School/Church Harvest Service, or other Harvest themed event, please contact us.
- Contact Details. Tel: 01902 256523 (leave a message if we can’t answer); email us via our Contact form or at email@example.com
- In Date Food! Please remember to donate ONLY food within its Best Before end (BBE) date, otherwise we cannot use it.
Children in Wolverhampton are preparing to add some extra snap, crackle and pop to their usual morning routine!
A partnership between Kelloggs, His Church Charity, Wolverhampton Council & The Well was launched last week to deliver free healthy breakfast cereals to schools/nurseries/other projects providing breakfast clubs(or who want support in starting one).
Deliveries have already been made to 10 schools/nurseries, with a further 10 deliveries planned this week.
(Staff at Bilston & Eastfield Nurseries receiving the cereals)
If you are a Wolverhampton Borough school/nursery who has not yet signed up to this scheme, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org , or complete the contact form on this website. We will then pass on your details to the Coordinator at the Council.
Other Foodbanks & community projects working across the City who provide breakfast items will also be able to benefit from Kellogg’s initiative during the year.
2014 has been an astonishing year for us at The Well!
We have known the grace of Christ in so many ways and are continually overwhelmed by the generosity of so many Churches, Businesses and individuals. The Well has truly become a CITY community project!
During this year we have had the privilege of hosting small groups from a number of local businesses, giving a ‘community day’ of service. We are always happy to do this, as we think businesses expressing a commitment to social responsibility is a fabulous idea, as well as an expression of the Kingdom of God in the City! If every worker in every business in our City were allowed to give one day to community work each year our City would be transformed – now there’s an idea!
It’s always fun to have young people volunteer with us. This year it has included a group from The Challenge for the 3rd year, and students from local schools on work experience.
Harvest and Christmas donations have been overwhelming – we have enjoyed the challenge of sorting through the Lord’s food mountain!!!
The sad truth of the level of need across the City is something we don’t celebrate. There are days when the phone does not stop ringing, which is hard with the current limit of parcels we have to deliver. As you read this, please pray, or if not a person of faith, then remember in your heart, those who are struggling financially in Wolverhampton. May our City get to the point where there is no need for foodbanks.
One of the greatest joys for us is to meet or speak to so many people as they drop off food or make referrals. Wolverhampton is full of caring people!
…and so, as we end this year, and look forward to 2015, or final thanks go to Our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus, who came into this world as a vulnerable baby, born to refugees with nowhere to stay. Jesus identified himself with our frailty, so that we may know His love, life, hope, joy, peace and eternal purposes. He is the CEO of this Project, and has enabled us to do this work this year. To grow from feeding 67 people in 2006 to 9000 in 2014, without statutory funding or grants, is an example of His faithfulness.
We pray, as you read this, if you know HIM, your faith will be strengthened, and if you don’t yet know HIM, this will be the start of your journey to experience HIS life for yourself.
With Much Love & Blessings to you all
Gary & Caroline xxx
Food banks, Hunger and Prophecy
The publication of report on hunger in Britain, which has much to say about food banks, raises a fascinating and important theological question about the Kingdom. Are we to relieve poverty or speak prophetically about the causes of poverty? Or both. But what if these aims contradict each other?
The recent publication of the report of a Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in Britain brings this into sharp focus. There is a brief summary of the report on the Evangelical Alliance website at:
There is Twitter feed at #FeedingBritain and the full report is available at:
It distinguishes two categories of people relying on aid: first those in temporary crisis, often due to a change in benefits, but second those who were struggling even before this current recession, often due to disabilities of one kind or another. It contains a number of specific recommendations aimed at eliminating hunger in Britain.
Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro in his Introduction to the report wrote: “We heard stories and gained first-hand experience that led us to the conclusion that the rise in the use of food banks does indicate a deeper problem in our society; the ‘glue’ that used to be there is no longer there in many instances. It can be described as the commodification process with people seen as commodities, and the transactions between them are regarded simply as the exchanging of products rather than relationships between two human beings.”
So the question arises of what kind of society we want to live in. One where all are treated with dignity and those who have share with those who do not, or one where community has broken down so badly that many are in hunger while others have more than plenty. Many in all political parties find the experience of food poverty in such a wealthy country as Britain unacceptable. Yet this is a deeply political question as the Government’s policies on welfare reform are a contributory factor (even if the precise effect is a matter of debate) and many ordinary, middle income citizens assume that many choose to live on benefits as an easier option to work.
It is also a deeply theological question. We believe in being generous in response to the generosity of God. We believe that the one God in Trinity, whose nature is love
(1 Jn 4:8), is the ultimate model of community as well as of self-sacrificing generosity. This kind of love goes beyond sharing via a charity our surplus food or belongings; it extends to developing community wherever we have influence. We believe, further, that the church has a role of declaring truth and prophesying God’s perspective on the events and conditions on Earth. This too is part of seeing the kingdom come and His will being done on earth as in heaven.
So sharing food out of compassion is good but not enough. We need to allow God to form in us a vision for a society so influenced by the presence of God that there is work for those who can work and adequate provision for those who are ill, have a disability or just going through a bad patch.’
The history of the church suggests that speaking prophetically without the context of humility and godly character is dangerous. It leads to bishops directing the city authorities or to misguided efforts to bring about the kingdom by force. History also suggests that without the supernatural direction and presence of the Holy Spirit the church cannot be truly prophetic.
So what might the church need to say in response to the report on food poverty? There is no doubt that we need to encourage generosity on the part of Christians and encourage others to follow our example. We should probably, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, urge the Government to play a part in resourcing food banks and the co-ordination of reducing food waste. We need to go further and demonstrate what authentic community looks like, where the haves share with the have-nots e.g. Acts 4:32-35). Godly ‘haves’ share not in a patronising way but with respect for the humanity of the ‘have-nots’. The basis of such sharing is not just compassion, though that is important, but the fact that a community is made up of all: rich and poor have a common bond.
We probably need to go further, however, and address some root cause issues. That is where it gets really tricky to be clear what is inspired by the Holy Spirit and what comes from prejudice or an inadequate worldview. Should we urge Government to be compassionate and to relax the rules on how benefits can be claimed and to relax the culture in Jobcentres of suspicion that claimants are fraudulent? Is this what Jesus would have done? He denounced the Pharisees for observing the Law but failing to be compassionate in relation to the poor (which really means to be just, caring for those who cannot care for themselves, so that they are not unduly disadvantaged).
This is where we tread on political ground and should not be afraid to do so. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Mark 12:17) has been interpreted over the centuries as “Give to Caesar what Caesar demands” as though our faith can affect every area of life except political opinions. The reality is more complex. For Jesus to address Pilate, Caesar’s representative, in the manner recorded in John 19 was a direct challenge to his authority: Pilate realised “You are a King, then!” We might disagree on some of the detail and how far to go, but where there are issues of righteousness it is our duty (not our privilege) to speak out whether it will fall on receptive, deaf or antagonistic ears. This is a conversation that is just beginning in Christian circles but it is an important one. And the fact that the Parliamentary Enquiry was cross-party gives some encouragement.
Chris Horton (Director & Trustee)
Harvest has been a time to remember that we are completely reliant on the goodness of our Heavenly Father, who provides all that is needed to sustain life – year upon year, generation upon generation. It can be easy to forget this living in a city.
Psalm 65, in The Bible, celebrates this truth so well:
‘You visit the earth and water it,
You greatly enrich it;
The river of God is full of water;
You provide their grain
For so You have prepared it.
You water its ridges abundantly;
You settle its furrows:
You make it soft with showers,
You bless its growth.
You crown the year with Your goodness… ‘
Here at The Well, Harvest 2014 will be remembered for the astonishing generosity shown by schools, churches and businesses.
We have received 52 Harvest Collections (some combined by a school & church), weighing a whopping 7246 Kg!! Wolverhampton has again demonstrated its reputation for being a generous city.
The fresh foods have been a much appreciated addition, shown in a message we received from a food parcel recipient via one of the Housing Support Teams:
“I got so emotional because they sent me a wide variety of stuff they even threw in potatoes and fruits I just couldn’t believe they sent me so much. God will forever bless them and thank you so much”.
During this season, we have also been privileged to join local Harvest Festival Celebrations. Our thanks and appreciation go to the school and church communities and children at:
St. Michael’s Primary School, Tettenhall
St. Paul’s Primary School, Pendeford
St. Jude’s Church, Tettenhall
Tettenhall Wood School
Woden Primary School, Heath Town
So now to the roll call of all who have donated during Harvest 2014.
All Saints Church
Bantock Primary School, Bradmore
Bhylls Acre Primary School, Castlecroft
Bilbrook Middle School
Bilston Pentecostal Church
Birches First School,Codsall
Brewood Middle School
Claregate Primary School
Cranmer Methodist Church
Cranmer Methodist Church Playgroup
Dovecotes Primary School
Fallings Park Methodist Church
Fallings Park Primary School
Fordhouses Baptist Church
Happy Rainbows Nursery – Coseley
Hill Avenue Primary School
Kingsway Church – Wombourne
Long Knowle Primary School
Loxdale Primary School
Merridale Primary School
Perton Middle School
Rakegate Primary School
Reedswood E-ACT Academy, Walsall
Sandown First School, Perton
St Bart’s C of E Church,Penn
St Barts Primary School,Penn
St Columba’s United Reformed Church,Castlecroft
St Joseph’s C of E Church, Merry Hill
St Judes’s C of E Church, Tettenhall
St Luke’s Cof E Primary School, Blakenhall
St Mary’s C of E Church, Bushbury
St Mary’s c of E Church, Wheaton Aston
St Michael’s Primary School, Tettenhall
St Nicholas Primary School,Codsall
St Paul’s Primary School, Pendeford
St. James’ C of E Church, Fordhouses
St. Mary’s C of E Church, Brewood
St. Paul’s C of E Church, Pendeford
Tabernacle Baptist Church
Tettenhall Wood School
The Church at Perton
The Church of The Good Shepherd, Low Hill
Trinity Methodist Church, Codsall
Wednesfield Christian Centre
West Park Church
Whitgreave Junior School
Wightwick Hall School
Windsor Children’s Centre
Woden Primary School, Heath Town
Wolverhampton Girls High School
Wolverhampton Junior Grammar School
Woodfield Infants School
Woodfield Junior School
Zion City Tabernacle
May each one of you be richly blessed for your generous acts of giving. Above all, may you know the love of Jesus Christ, who demonstrated the ultimate act of giving in giving His own life, so that we may have eternal life by knowing Him xx
Anyone noticed blackberry picking has been earlier this year? It brings to mind Harvest Festival season is almost upon us – the time to be thankful for all the rich abundance of foods we enjoy, especially in the Western Nations.
At the same time, here at The Well, we know there are many families & single people across our City who are struggling to buy basic foods.
This time of year provides a great opportunity for businesses, as well as churches & schools to have a harvest collection, & do something together to help others.
So if you are planning a Harvest Festival event with The Well in mind, our shopping list can be downloaded here:
Harvest Shopping List 2014
Please email us to arrange collection, or if you prefer to deliver it to the warehouse, a map & opening times can be downloaded here:
The Well-Map & Directions
It really helps us if only food in date can be donated…each year we have to dispose of foods past their Best Before End date which is such a shame.
Finally, if you would like one of our Team to speak at your School/Church Harvest Service, or other Harvest themed event, please contact the office on 01902 256523 or email us via the ‘Contact Us’ tab above.
Looking for an easy way to donate food/toiletries to support people experiencing severe financial struggles in our City – here’s your opportunity!
Asda Wolverhampton have kindly offered us another collection date, next Thursday 4th September from 10am.
Some of our team will be in the foyer handing out shopping lists to customers between 10am-3pm.
Just buy an item on the list and pop it in the collection trolley on your way out.
We thought we would share some of the recent food requests we have received from local people in need or referral agencies. We hope it helps to raise awareness of the genuine difficulties faced by low income families and single people alike.
‘I have just started a new job, so I am now off Jobseekers allowance but right now I have no money to get any food at all. I am just wondering if I would be able to have a food parcel just to tie me over for a bit while I’m working, Please this would be a massive help’.
‘They have no food in the house and benefits have been stopped for 4 weeks as they failed to keep an appointment due to it clashing with a doctor’s appointment.’
‘I’m working but cannot even afford food once all my outgoings come out. I don’t know if I can get help from the food bank. I’m looking for some advice and help. Thank you’.
‘Could you tell me how I apply for a food parcel please? I have 4 children and could do with some help.’……
The following week we received this message:
‘Hello, you delivered a food parcel on Tuesday to me and my children. I would just like to say thank you so much, it has really helped us. Once again, thank you.’
‘My child tax credit has been stopped due to a mistake. I am struggling to buy food – I need some help with a food bank – I’m desperate. It is very difficult for me to go out due to my mental health.’
When we receive requests directly from the public, we refer them back to one of the referral agencies we work with so that the need can be properly assessed, and then a referral made to us.
As always, our heartfelt thanks to everyone who donates food & finance to support the work of The Well.
May God richly bless you for your generosity.
The Well will be closed for the week beginning 1st September 2014.
We will reopen as usual on Tuesday 9th September 2014.