A letter from CEF to the members of St Aldates Church
The Community Emergency Foodbank (CEF) team would like to wish all the members of St Aldates Church a very joyful Christmas. We would also like to thank the congregation for its support for CEF over the past year through gifts of food as well as financial help towards our work.
The CEF café has been increasingly busy over the past 12 months as more and more people find themselves in financial crisis in these difficult economic times, with not enough money to buy sufficient food for themselves and their families. We have fed approximately 1,500 people over the past 12 months. The stories we hear are many and varied and I enclose a few which hopefully will give some insight into the people we help.
‘A’ was a single girl, in her mid-twenties, who had been working as a Christian community worker in London. She had been subject to a stalker aggressively harassing her and the police had arranged for her to be moved out of the area to a women’s refuge in Oxford. She knew no-one, had no money as her benefits had not caught up with her and she was in a very distressed state. As well as providing her with much-needed food, we were able to put her in touch with a church community near to where she was living.
‘B’ had just been released from prison and was living in a probation hostel when he was referred to us as his benefits had not been processed prior to discharge. He was very upset when he arrived, as his friend had recently committed suicide in his home town and he was unable to go to the funeral because of his bail restrictions. He said that if he had still been in prison he could have received support from the prison chaplain, but outside he felt lonely and vulnerable. During the three times he visited CEF, one of the volunteers was able to spend time talking to him and he indicated that this had been very helpful.
Family ‘C’ was an American girl with a couple of children who had come to the UK with her partner two years previously. They were unmarried. He had recently walked out of the family home, leaving her with no entitlement to benefits as she was not a British citizen. She was desperate to stay in this country as the children were settled in school and she was happy here. She was surviving on the occasional £5 left by the children’s father. CEF was able to help her over a difficult period in her life.
There are so many stories like these, so please continue to give both financially or in ‘kind’ if you can. Visit our website to find out more: http://www.cefoxford.co.uk/.
To donate to CEF, please use the food boxes available in the Entrance Area or at the front of the stage every Sunday. Thank you.