New research has revealed that Christian groups and churches across Norfolk feed an incredible 7,000 people every month of the year, following the example and command of Jesus Christ to ‘feed the hungry’.
The Norfolk Feeds 5000 survey of Christian organisations and churches right across Norfolk, by the team behind the website Network Norfolk, has shone a light on scores of different groups who are engaged in nightly soup runs, weekly community meals, emergency food parcels and lots of other initiatives.
The well-known foodbank networks, all co-ordinated by churches and Christian groups, supply thousands of emergency three-day food parcels to families and individuals who are in desperate need, usually due to circumstances beyond their control.
The survey has also spotlighted dozens of churches across Norfolk which run cafes or hold weekly or monthly community meals, mostly for free or a nominal donation, bringing together vulnerable and lonely members of their communities for breakfast, lunch or dinner and offering other activities and services alongside them.
The well-known nightly Norwich Soup Run provides hot food and drinks to around 40 people every single night of the year and other similar initiatives, on a smaller scale, are run in King’s Lynn and to Big Issue sellers in Norwich for example.
Messy Churches, aimed at young families and offering different activities and usually a meal of some sort, are run by dozens of churches across Norfolk.
Lunch clubs during the school holidays, youth clubs including free food, schemes to gives surplus food to the homeless and simply taking people to a supermarket and then paying for the food they want to buy are other examples of innovative activities run by Christian groups.
The research project is named after one of the well-known Bible miracles performed by Jesus – the feeding of the 5,000.
Network Norfolk publisher Keith Morris, who helped to co-ordinate the research, said: “Christians do not have a monopoly on this kind of activity and there are other non-faith based groups in Norfolk doing similar things, but our research shows that the church is more than pulling its weight.
“Collectively, the Christian community has come up with dozens of innovative and inspirational projects to meet the basic needs of vulnerable and sometimes desperate people in our towns and villages, through the simple activity of sharing a free meal with them or providing food for their families.”
Of the 90-plus responses to the survey, Christian and church-led projects that involve hundreds of volunteers (some Christian and some not) reported that every month of the year an average total of around 7,020 people are either fed or provided with food to cook for themselves.
You can see the full results and project case studies at www.norfolkfeeds5000.co.uk
Follow a month-long social media campaign about the project at #norfolkfeeds5000
PHOTO: Norwich Soup Run, co-ordinated by the Salvation Army Citadel but involving dozens of churches and some other groups, serves 40 people every night of the year
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