CAPTION: Bishop Robert with some of the Exeter foodbank volunteers and supporters

Bishop blesses new foodbank warehouse

Posted: 1st April, 2020

The Bishop of Exeter has blessed Exeter Foodbank’s new storage facility during a short ceremony.

The warehouse has just been completed and the blessing took place on 21 March, before stricter social distancing guidelines came into force.

Exeter Foodbank is providing emergency food supplies to around 280 people per week and distributes about three tonnes of food.

Many of its regular volunteers are over 70 and are now self-isolating.

“Even giving a tin of peas is like a prayer”

The Trussell Trust, which runs the foodbank, has been working hard to recruit and vet new volunteers.

During the prayer of blessing Bishop Robert said: “We pray for daily bread for all who need it. May they be free from want and free from fear.

The new storage facility replaces an existing one which had grown too small. The larger building has been built and donated by a supporter of the Exeter Foodbank, an inverse example of the Parable of the Greedy Farmer (Luke 12:17-31)

Bishop Robert said generosity was important at the moment

After the ceremony Bishop Robert commented on some of the panic buying which has been happening and said: “We must take responsibility for ourselves but not at the expense of loving our neighbour.

“We are in community and it’s about loving our neighbour AS ourself, not instead of ourself.

“We need to work together and this storage facility is testimony to people working together to care for people less fortunate than themselves, it’s also a sad reflection of the poverty which is often hidden in our beautiful county.”

One of the foodbank volunteers said: “When people give food, even a tin of peas, it is like a prayer.”

Foodbanks need donations

Chris Keppie, Church and Society Officer for the Diocese of Exeter, has been working with community organisations to draw up a list of foodbanks across Devon.

He said: “Foodbanks are increasingly running low or empty on many items.

“While money is always welcome, donations of food are particularly wanted at the moment.

“This is because supermarkets are limiting how much food people can buy, even volunteers for foodbanks.

“Also, as more of us are self-isolating and buying food online, donations to foodbank collection points are actually decreasing.”

Although churches are closed, those that house foodbanks are still open as collection points.

Other churches are offering their buildings to be used by community food distribution groups, for example St Andrews Church in Ashburton.

Here is a full list of foodbanks and information about where to donate food. It also lists places where you can get food if you need it.