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Home > Action Zones > Politics and Social Action > Prayer for Easton - St Mark's Cafe and Foodbank

Prayer for Easton - St Mark's Cafe and Foodbank


There was lots of news and prayer points coming out of our meeting last month at the St Marks Cafe (on St Marks Road).

St Marks Cafe

Lesley Wynne, who is now employed part-time by the church to run and develop the cafe, told us about the latest developments.
The cafe, open Thursday to Saturday, is recognised as a vibrant and welcoming local place for people to meet, eat and socialise. Lots of people use it. It is run by volunteers coming from a wide range of backgrounds, from the local community, churches, BRR, Church House, and st marks cafeyoung offenders. Every day they start with prayer and their hope is that people recognise something different about the cafe. This exact comment was made by the Environmental Health Inspector who gave them top marks on a recent visit.

Part of the welcoming ethos of the cafe is that if people can't afford to pay for food, they are still welcome to eat. They have found that as they have given away more like this, their income has increased. That's kingdom economics for you!

The cafe seems surrounded by prayer. People can be prayed for if they want to and there is also a book on the window sill for prayers to be written in.
Recently a local group asked to run a 'Well Man Clinic' in the main part of the church, alongside the cafe. It was very successful and used by a range of local people. There has long been a vision for an NHS drop-in clinic at the church, which makes this development particularly exciting.

Lesley spoke so enthusiastically about the cafe and all that is going on, it felt a privilege to hear and be praying for it.

Ongoing prayer request are:
  • For all those using the cafe
  • For more volunteers. They can never have enough, especially as people often move on into work. Even just an hour a week is welcome. The more volunteers they have, the more days they might be able to open.
  • For the variety of people coming to volunteer, especially from the young offenders group.

Foodbank

It is a year since the East Bristol Foodbank set up at the St Marks Cafe. It operates every Friday afternoon, giving out 3-day food parcels to people in need, accessed by a voucher given to them by one of 60 or so local referral agencies. In that year they have helped 1200 people, 50% of whom are children and the need is increasing.
East-Bristol-LogoAndy Irwin enthused about the ethos of the cafe and how the Foodbank fitted in well there. He spoke highly of his volunteer team, many of whom are elderly, who welcome people and offer support and prayer as well as practical food. He was struck by how this project was giving people the opportunity to use their gifts and skills in ways they might not have otherwise. Evidence of the 'church' in action in the community http://eastbristol.foodbank.org.uk.

The increasing need for the services they provide means there is an ongoing need for food. Some is donated by Fairshare, but the largest portion comes from individual donations of food items. They do a monthly collection outside a couple of supermarkets asking people to buy a few extra items when they shop and donate them on their way out. People are generous in their donations. The food items that they are most commonly short of are: tinned vegetables, instant mashed potatoes, longlife fruit juice.
The project has links and connections with various other projects doing similar work (Matthew Tree Project and others) and they're working towards a more integrated working connection with CCM
Again, Andy spoke so positively about the Foodbank it was humbling to hear and be praying together.

Prayer requests
  • Ongoing provision of food. They need about a ton a month.
  • Volunteers to help with the collections outside supermarkets-there is a role for everyone, whether up front meeting people or admin and sorting
  • Possibility of a new Foodbank opening at the House of Praise, Tudor Road. Discussions underway.
  • For a salaried worker to run the project

Crisis Centre Ministries

Steve White reported that they are in the process of employing 4 new members of staff, for the Wild Goose and other projects.
He also asked for prayer about the developing work of the 'Spring of Hope' ladies night shelter.

Penny Gray
for P for E Team