Gloucester Cathedral will be helping to feed those in need this Christmas.
It is opening its doors as a food drop-off point for Gloucester Foodbank in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Donations will be collected by volunteers from the organisation, who will then sort it and pack it into Christmas hampers, ready for distributing to those in need. Anyone wanting to leave donated food at the drop-off point inside Gloucester Cathedral can place their items anytime from 8am to 6pm, 7 days-a-week.
People, who have been issued with a food voucher from professionals such as family support workers or social workers, can receive three days’ emergency food from Gloucester Foodbank.
Anneliese Sterry, Gloucester Foodbank manager, said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of individuals who have not eaten for a day or more. This isn’t the third world, this is Gloucestershire. Please consider donating food this Christmas.”
The Cathedral Choir will be singing carols at the launch of the initiative on Monday 1 December at 8am.
The Dean of Gloucester, the Very Revd Stephen Lake, said it was important to remember that selfless acts demonstrated the true meaning of Christmas.
He said: “It is shocking that anyone should go hungry at any time of the year, but we wanted to show that actions can speak louder than words. We wanted to reveal the love of Christ, which is the real reason for our celebration of Christmas.”
Many projects are already being run by churches to ensure that the love of Jesus is seen in the community. During the weeks running up to Christmas, the Diocese will be celebrating these schemes, focusing on one of four different issues each week: food and hunger; finance and poverty; housing and homelessness; and friendship and loneliness.
The Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, said: “Christmas is a wonderful time of year for many different reasons. We all enjoy exchanging gifts, and take delight in eating well in the warmth of our home, surrounded by friends and family.
But as Christians we believe there is more to Christmas than simply gifts, food and good cheer – although these are all part of a joyful Christmas. For us, the thing which gives Christmas its meaning and purpose is the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
“We want to show, through simple actions, the real meaning of Christmas.”
Churches across the Diocese are already involved in many projects. Videos of some of these projects have been posted here, and churches are being sent posters to put up, which encourage others to get involved in their communities as well.
To find out more about some of the community projects being run by our churches, and to discover how you can get involved visit the Christmas Starts with Christ page.