By James Issott
Love Thanet was set up at the beginning of lockdown as a response to the changes and challenges that people are now facing or have suddenly found themselves in. As a church we realised that so many people were suddenly in need of help, but also that so many others wanted to find a way that they could help – so LoveThanet has provided a means for both, and it has been so good to see how it has been able to support those most in need within our locality.
Currently during an average week, LoveThanet helps to provide hot meals for rough sleepers, Emergency food parcels for those in isolation, as well as other areas of support such as befriending, prescription and shopping pick-ups.
An average week sees over 25 volunteers get involved in helping to make this happen and in the first few months of operating we have been able to give out over 6,000 meals to the local community and over 250 emergency food parcels given out which has been absolutely phenomenal.
But what has made these first few months even more incredible has been watching the way in which the community has wanted to partner in with what the church has been doing and help in any way that they can.
From some of our Aspire students coming in to help load parcels, Tesco workers coming in on days off to help cook meals and even those who don’t have a faith delivering a food parcel on behalf of the church! – it has been amazing to see so many people not connected to the church want to come in and volunteer and to help those in the community.
We have seen so many conversations and moments where those receiving or helping from outside are walls are asking about why the church is helping in this way, or wanting to know more about faith in this time – and it’s been so good to be able to talk to them about the real heart behind LoveThanet and invite to join us online for a Sunday morning or get connected to an online community of the church in some way. This really is Acts 2 community in action, showing God’s love to those around us, doing life with each other and seeing God move.
In a world that is still unsure of what the future holds in so many ways, LoveThanet has been able to show the hope that we always have in God – no matter what is going on, and I can’t wait to see how this grows as the project continues.