St Augustine's, Dumbarton

Scottish Episcopal Church

Charity Number: SC002984

Food for Thought June/July 2017


It began with a dream of opening the Church and the Hall on a weekly basis to feed the homeless and the hungry. It has taken many many months of hard work, constant prayer and wee miracles for it to come to fruition!

On Wednesday 7th June Community Soup was officially opened by Vice Provost Karen Conaghan, Martin Docherty SNP candidate (at the time of writing), and John Woodcock who worked so hard installing the new kitchen in the church for this very purpose.

Money for this initiative has been granted for the year by the Scottish Government’s Fair Food Transformation Fund which works to help people out of the poverty trap.

We also would like to thank Dumbarton’s Marks and Spencer’s who has named Food For Thought as their Charity of the Year 2017. They have already given a generous £500 to the charity and every week the store also donates fresh food and dry goods for use by Community Soup and Food For Thought. On our Launch Day all the staff wanted to come and see for themselves what the charity does and, although were saddened by the stories they heard, were enthusiastic to continue to fund raise for us and perhaps volunteer to help.
Thanks go to the Scottish Government, Marks and Spencer’s, Howden’s, The Plumb Centre and The Kitchen Centre and John Woodcock – without whom this project would not have launched. Because of them we are able to look forward to welcoming many from our community over a good plate of home-made soup!


‘Turning to the parish’

Last week whilst compiling a report for one of last years funders I was reminded of stories from the war concerning my mum’s mum, Maw Brookes.

Around 1917 my Maw married Robert Mayes and had a daughter, my auntie Ruby. When Ruby was only little Robert was called to fight in the First World War, but as with so many men and families at that time it was not long before my maw was sent a telegram telling her that they were very sorry but Robert had been lost at sea.

This left my Maw as a widow and Ruby with one parent. My Maw having no money had no option but to ‘turn to the parish’ in order to feed herself and her daughter.

A few years later she met and married my grandad Joe Brookes and they had a further 6 wains including my mum. However when my mum was 8 Joe, her dad, died and once again my Maw was left a widow. Times were hard, and again she had to ‘turn to the parish’ in order to feed herself and her children.

It was only in later life my Maw prospered, bought a property and was able to visit Canada. But however much easier her life was then, she never forgot those hard times.

All this happened two generations ago… almost a hundred years ago…. But as I looked at the old photographs, recollected the life my Grandmother had had and the challenges and solutions she had been forced to face and find, I couldn’t help thinking that nothing, sadly, has changed. What many see as Victorian poverty and division between the rich and the poor is still very much with us. Today Food For Thought, connected to St Augustine’s, IS ‘the parish’, and the situation described above is one scenario amongst many that we see on a daily basis.

It was with these thoughts that I looked at the statistics and numbers for Food For Thought:

  • During the first year of working for Food For Thought we provided a service to 1220 people.
  • This last year Food for Thought provided a service to 2480 people from our “parish”. That is over double the number.
  • Of those 2480 people:
    ° 1271 people received emergency food aid,
    ° 38 people received support
    ° 900 gifts were given away to those with little money
    ° 173 Christmas dinners in a bag were given to those in homeless and Supported accommodation
    ° 98 people booked to have Christmas dinner with us because they either couldn’t afford the festivities or they would have been alone.

In the past 100 years there have been huge changes, sadly the “parish” is still here and in as much demand as always. We continue to fight the good fight with your help and support.

Caroline x

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