One tradition that many schools and churches still maintain at this time of year is Harvest Festival. Traditionally people brought the first fruits of their fields as a thanksgiving to God for the harvest, conscious of their dependence upon his providence in ensuring that there was abundance for the long cold winter months. Some of these offerings were used to provide for the poor in the local community who might otherwise go without. These days Harvest Festival food tends to be tinned or packet food with a long shelf life and gets passed on to any number of charities that distribute them to those experiencing hardship.
Along with a number of local churches, Life Church supports “Hart Foodbank” which distributes food across Hart District. People are often astonished that anyone living in Hart could possibly need such help. Sadly despite the generally high standard of living in this area there are a growing number of people who are in desperate need of this service. On a single afternoon in July 400kg was given to feed 60 local people in Hart. In the 12 months that Hart Foodbank has been operating 453 people have been helped (232 adults and 221 children). So far nearly 7.5 tonnes of food has been donated and we have been able to send over 1.2 tonnes to other Foodbanks across the country. If you would like more information about the national network then please visit http://hart.foodbank.org.uk
At Life Church we don’t hold a Harvest Festival service, rather we encourage people to buy an extra packet of food with the weekly shop and bring it along when they come to church – the need exists all year round and it helps to have a steady supply! However we are grateful to local schools and other organisations who do donate their harvest festival gifts to Hart Foodbank through us. Donations are always welcome and can be left at Life Church Centre during office hours.
This blog post featured in the October 2012 edition of Hook Focus