Refurbished Food Hub Enables Christ the King to Keep Offering ‘Beacon of Hope’

On 3 April, Christ the King Beaumont Leys’ Food Hub was reopened by the High Sherriff of Leicestershire, Henrietta Chubb JP, and dedicated by Bishop Saju, thanks to a grant of £66,0000 from the Government’s Community Organisation Cost of Living Fund.

The funding allowed Christ the King to refurbish the food hub and its kitchen, and provide additional storage for chilled and frozen food. At the reopening, the High Sherriff of Leicestershire paid tribute to the commitment of the volunteers who have made the refurbishment possible and for serving the members of the community.

The Rt Revd Saju Muthalaly, Bishop of Loughbrough, said, "It was a privilege to be able to attend the re-opening of Christ the King Food Hub, to pray that it might be a blessing and a beacon of hope for all those who need it, and to give thanks for the hard work of the volunteers and the community at Christ the King who seek to show something of Christ's love for the marginalised. While we pray for an end to the need for food banks, I am immensely grateful for the hospitality of places like Christ the King which is a lifeline for so many families."

Revd Rob Hinsley, Vicar of Christ the King, describes the Food Hub as being “at the heart of what we do” as a church, having changed even how the building is used when, in 2020, the church lounge was transformed into the Food Hub. 

More fundamentally, “for the members of Christ the King, it is a powerful way of living out what it means to be a Christian.” He gives the example of Jasper, a member of the church, who “frequently says that he has had many blessings in his life, and the work with the Food Hub is his way of being grateful and giving back.”

It is something the whole church family can get involved in. “For those not able to physically help, they support the Food Hub by collecting food, or if they can’t afford to themselves, they collect items from theirs neighbours - even if it is only egg boxes.”

The Food Hub also has an important impact on how local residents view Christ the King, Rob explains. “The local community see the church as being theirs because it serves everyone irrespective of faith or background, and it means we have a reputation for generosity and care.”

Since first opening in 2011, the Food Hub, which distributes emergency food packages, has seen increasing levels of need as energy bills rise and the two-child limit on benefits (which restricts the child element of Universal Credit to the first two children in a family if a third or subsequent child was born after 1 April 2017) has taken effect.

During the school holidays, the need for emergency food also increases as families lose the support of free school meals and breakfast clubs. So, in the summer, the church runs a pop-up café with children’s activities, hot drinks and cake, and this year, the church will provide free breakfasts. They are also planning a free community fun day after the success of one last year for the Coronation, which was attended by over 500 people.

The work of the Food Hub is, therefore, central to the mission of the church and to the everyday faith of its members, as Rob explains. “As Christians we have a concern for the whole person – if their physical needs are not being met then they will neglect their spiritual and mental needs. As well as meeting these physical needs, we need to also try to address the root causes of poverty so we seek to raise awareness and work in partnership with others.”

That is why the Food Hub works with the Community Advice and Law service to make sure clients who use the Food Hub are getting all the government support they are entitled to, and with Energy Wise, to connect people to advice and help for their energy bills.

“It is also about giving individuals and families some dignity and reminding them that they are made in the image of God and we believe that they are called to fullness of life”, Rob adds. “During the Covid-19 pandemic we would put a postcard in the parcels which simply said: ‘Our Holy Book tells us to care for our neighbours; this comes with our love’.”


First published on: 12th April 2024
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