African Caribbean

Hot food for the “Needy” at All Nations for Christ Church in Normanton, Derby

Every 4 weeks, the doors of the church are opened up to provide hot meals for those that feel that they need the support of the All Nations for Christ Church in Normanton.

This was an initiative which was started 8 years ago by Mother and Son duo of Dolores and Marc Grant as a way in which the Church could actively support the “needy” in the population beyond the opportunity for worship.

The food is pre-prepared by Dolores in her own home kitchen and then brought to the Church for finishing touches and serving. Everything is made from “scratch” and gives those that attend a high-quality meal in warm, and welcoming surroundings.

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The people that attend aren’t necessarily homeless, or unable to afford food. In many cases, it represents a social occasion, or a time when a more substantial, and healthy meal can be eaten. Some are simply lonely, some have drug addiction problems, some just struggle to support themselves. The atmosphere is non-judgmental and easy going. No one has to prove that they are ”in need” it’s taken on trust. It would be too difficult to define how “needy” someone would need to be to “qualify”, and in so doing, the ethos of this initiative would be lost. “Needy” is a loose term, the organisers rely on the diners to define it for themselves, and their position is respected.

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This is not a place of “last resort” and, in that way, it differs from the principle of a food bank which generally provides a short-term bridge where finances are a real hazard. It is a place of security, warmth, welcome, and provides people with a boost to their lives, generates some cohesion in the community and provides a respite for those who are battling with something, dark, each day of their lives.

The usual attendance is in the region of 25-30, the January event supported less people due to a late change in the plan to include an additional one shortly after Christmas. It was clear that those who were there, really enjoyed and benefitted from the meal; one lady had been attending since the centre opened. For her, the “need”, was company, pure and simple; her husband had passed away 38 years ago, and she was in her late 70s. Although not financial, her “need” was no less relevant, or substantial, than for those who were suffering financially.

Handing out food, in a food bank is a great help; to provide a cooked meal and social contact takes the humanitarian support to another level.

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