It’s a gift that keeps on giving!

What started at Christ Church Warwick in April 2020 as a one-month emergency meal programme to deliver meals to senior citizens and vulnerable persons during the COVID-19 health crisis continues nearly three years later.


The programme started as a segment of a wider feeding programme established and funded by Butterfield Bank, with The Loren at Pink Beach handling the food and beverage aspect and the church one of several distribution centres.

Since which, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland has morphed into an entity, independently continuing with a task promoted by the Prophet Isaiah in the Bible, once telling followers to: “Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.”


“We take care of the homeless with breakfast, along with laundry and and we provide a shower facility and then we go straight into lunch,” explained Jill Bosch de Noya, a volunteer for the programme and church member. “It all started with the Bank of Butterfield and The Loren, when Christ Church Warwick was selected as one of the distribution centres for The Loren meals.


“And so, on the 4th of April 2020 David Thompson and I were sitting here with 30 meals, wondering who we were going to give them to.
“The word got out that we had food and very soon we had 50 people coming for 30 meals, so we opened our kitchen.
“We thought we would only do it for the month of April, which is what The Loren and the Butterfield were going to do.
“Then they extended to May, so we said, ‘Okay, we’ll do May as well’.


“ And here it is, the 1st of February 2023 and we are still going strong.”

The facility offers meals on each Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with deliveries made to those that are unable to transport themselves to the church on the weekdays.


Beyond the pandemic Ms Bosch de Noya highlighted there to yet be many that rely on the service, one which they are happy to provide and one which gives purpose to the volunteers, warms the heart and nourishes the soul.


“It’s unbelievable. Simply unbelievable,” she said, the joy in her face and tone of voice obvious. “It makes you get out of bed in the morning and say, ‘Yes, I’m coming to the church to help today.’
“The need is there. We know the people who absolutely depend on us for food and that’s what we’re here for, to give to those who would not eat if we didn’t give meals to them.


“It’s also not just a seniors’ programme , because there are many seniors, who are, fortunately, able to provide for themselves.


“We also have a lot of families. Because while the Cathedral in Town, they give out one meal per person, we do have our families that we provide for.
“As you can see with our trays, we do have family trays, whereby we can give one tray rather than six individual trays for one family.”


Apart from the chef, the programme is fully staffed by a team volunteers, with
several corporate companies sending in troops every so often to give the regular staffers a break while the operation is funded by charitable donations.


Church leader, Reverend Alistair G. Bennett, can often be found busy, labouring among the flock, peeling potatoes, washing dishes and transporting meals with the drivers’ team.


“Our staff have schedules,” said Ms Bosch de Noya. “We have teams that come on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. And we have a few corporate teams that come as well, who will give us a week and allow our regular vounteers a week off.

“We ask everybody if they’re working and if they are working, then they don’t qualify for this programme.”


Donations are welcomed and accepted, with persons or businesses wishing to contribute asked to contact David Thompson at 705-4600


Food, beverage and material suppliers to the programme include: Butterfield & Vallis, Baritts and BGA, while the SPCA provides pet food for those that have pets.


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