from Russell Godward (TCF) and Graham Marshall (St Margaret’s)

Dear friends,

Did you know that 13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK, and that men, women and children go to bed hungry every night?  It’s shocking and almost unbelievable, but unfortunately true.

Here in Thurrock poverty is also a daily reality for people, and many of these are children.

Thurrock Council
Child Poverty Needs AnalysisA fifth of Thurrock children are growing up in poverty, according to the official definition of child poverty.  The vast majority of the 7,335 children affected are under the age of 11 and more than half are under the age of 5.  Overall, child poverty in Thurrock is slightly below the national rate but higher than average for the East of England.

In 2008, Thurrock had 7,335 or 19.8% of children living in poverty.
Child poverty in Thurrock is slightly below the England average (20.9%) but above average for the East of England (16.1%).
The majority, 7115 of children living in poverty were under the age of sixteen and 6100 (83%) were under the age of eleven.
The largest single group affected by poverty is children aged 0-4, representing 53% of all Thurrock children in poverty.  This is higher, by 3 percentage points, than the national average proportion of this age group living in poverty.
Child poverty exists everywhere in Thurrock but is most concentrated in the deprived parts of the borough.

At ward level, child poverty is highest in Tilbury Riverside, (36.6%) Tilbury St Chad’s  (36.5%), West Thurrock and South Stifford (29.1%), Grays Riverside (27.1%) and Chadwell St Mary (26.6%).  It is lowest in Orsett (6.4%), South Chafford (8.2%) and Corringham & Fobbing (8.3%).

As a possible response to this we want to tell you about Foodbank, which is a fantastically exciting, simple and effective way of helping some of the neediest people in our immediate areas.

Foodbank logoThis initiative is still very new in the UK.  Last year there were 60 Foodbanks in the country, and this year there are 127!  61,000 people, referred by frontline statutory and voluntary agencies, were fed by Foodbanks last year.  This number is growing by 50% every year as the number of outlets grows.  It has been said, that we should look and see what God is doing, and then join in!  That is exactly what we want to do now.

Russell Godward (Thurrock Christian Fellowship) and Graham Marshall (St Margaret’s Church SLH) both contacted the Trussell Trust within days of each other after learning about Foodbank.  Conversations with the Trussell Trust, looking at their website, and visiting Harlow Foodbank have each confirmed our very strong belief, that God wants to see a Foodbank established within Thurrock.

TCF logoTo see this vision come to fruition, we need to see a central ‘warehouse’ established, where food can be collected, stored and sorted.  Foodbank parcels, each with enough food to feed people for 3 days (10 meals each) are then distributed to a network of ‘satellite centres’ located in churches or local community centres that are easily accessible by those that need them.  Foodbank attracts and is run by volunteers from every type of church and background, creating instant inter-church relationships and cooperation.

St Margs logoThe opportunity to meet the needs of people from within our communities, who are in desperate need of food, is one that we cannot turn our backs on.  The experience of Foodbank around the country is that they are enthusiastically supported by Churches and the public, and have a powerful impact upon the recipients of this generosity.  In addition, they reflect brilliantly upon the Christian churches / communities which run them.

There is a great deal more that can be said, but at this point we simply want to invite you to a presentation evening where we  & members of The Trussell Trust will outline the vision of Foodbank and launch a working group to take this project forward in Thurrock.  A poster for your notice board is below.

Information Evening for
Thurrock Foodbank
Monday 14th November 2011
7.30 – 8.45pm
St Margaret’s Church
The Green SLH
SS17 0EP

You can find further information and / or contact us at;

Tel: 01375 641867

You can also find the event on Facebook.

We do hope you will be able to join us and look forward to seeing you.

Yours sincerely,

Russell Godward & Graham Marshall

Foodbank poster