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In the run-up to Easter, Inclusive Gathering Birmingham has invited folks connected with us to sign up to receive an Easter Food Box. We’re hoping to give away 50 boxes.

Hospitality is so important to us, and this is a new way to share food together in these strange times. (Join our Connect & Community group or email newchurchbirmingham@gmail.com to find out more.)

The idea is simple: keep what you need, give away what you don’t. But how to do that? Nettes Derbyshire from IGB’s Leadership Community explains a bit more

Our Easter Boxes are on the way.  So – we are faced with a wonderful opportunity – to be given a hamper of food with the goal of using what we need and sharing what we don’t. 

But this is not necessarily an easy thing to do.  I am in the very fortunate position of knowing quite a few of my neighbours. I live in a small terrace, and know a few of the families on the row.  We had an active Residents’ Association for a while, where I met a number of local people.   During Covid we created and promoted a local WhatsApp group and quite a few people are on that.  Despite all of this, I would only hazard a guess at those that are in need.

We are blessed here with connections with one of the food surplus projects (Incredible Surplus) which rescues the perfectly good (in date) food supermarkets are throwing away and passes it on.  The aim is not particularly to feed the hungry (although that is a side effect), but more to make sure the food doesn’t go to waste.

There are a number of ways you can look at this opportunity of receiving a box of food from Inclusive Gathering Birmingham…

The first would be to see this hamper as a blessing to you from IGB.  This stands well on its own.

For others, you might find there is more in the box than you can use, or feel you would like to share some of the contents.   

The aim here is not necessarily to hunt out those most in need. In fact, I would suggest that is a very hard thing to do.  We might never know the exact circumstances of those around us.

I have lived in my area for 17 years, and am privileged to have got to know many of my neighbours during that time.  Also, our local WhatsApp groups means I can easily message many of them, but I would still only be guessing at who might actually need the food at any given time.

So who to share it with? Maybe there is a friend you haven’t seen at all since Covid started, but would love to bless. This could be the perfect time to contact them and ask if they would like to share your windfall. 

It might just be the nudge we need to help us get to know people in our neighbourhood.  Maybe there is someone you see often out on your walks, in the park, or at the corner shop, but haven’t had an opportunity to talk to properly. Or a neighbour who you occasionally say hi to but don’t really know.  

Striking up a conversation can be difficult.  So how can I just go up to someone and offer them food – that’s not the sort of thing I do.  What might I say?  One way of approaching this could be to follow a bit of “nice day for a stroll”  etc  with “I wonder if you could help me – I’ve been gifted a Morrison’s food box and there’s more than I need, would you be able to use some (whatever you have left)/”   You could even ask them “do you know anyone who likes/might want some …..?”

People are often more likely to respond to something if they know they are helping you out than if they feel you are trying to help them.

If you have a neighbour you would like to share with, you could put a card through their door explaining you have something for them.  A nice little card to go in with the package, (and possibly chocolate or a little extra “gift” if you like).

Finally, if you don’t want to approach an individual, or if you really want to give the food the best chance of getting to someone who would not otherwise be able to afford it there is a link here to the Active Wellbeing Society’s listing of most of the food distribution centres in Birmingham. 

Scroll partway down the page and click on the blue sentence that starts “Find information” to download a spreadsheet.  When you open it the first tab takes you to the actual Trussell Trust Food Banks, and the second tab to independent community food distribution outlets. This is kept fairly well updated, although The Active Wellbeing Society cannot guarantee accuracy.  It is best to phone the place of your choice to check when and where they are open, and arrange a covid safe drop off time.

So – there are a few ideas to get you going.  However you use your box, enjoy your adventure, and be blessed in your blessing.

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