Now in its 4th year, the F3 (Food for Families) program which supplies food to families with school age children who are in need, has seen demand increase by more than 100%. Our supporters who give of their time, their money and in gifts of food are much appreciated, by all at Gillespie Memorial Church (GMC) as we help those in need.
Though demand has increased, I wonder if this is not just down to worsening economic situations for some people, but is partly that the program is now more widely and well known and hence more folk are coming forward. We know many of the users are first time folks who are in a period of crisis due to different and diverse situations. Yet some are regular or habitual users, which begs the question – how can the wider society help folk who find it hard to manage on a regular basis?
The church in general has a part to play and across the UK church volunteers support many diverse programs: from food provision, counselling services, children’s activities and provision of for the elderly and other vulnerable groups to name just a few. Without church input into these and many other areas, our society would be much the poorer. However, it is not just the church that provides as there are many non-church charities that help too – and we in Dunfermline, and especially at GMC, are so grateful for the support of Dunfermline Advice Hub and Dunfermline Foodbank.
Yet, the question still remains – how can society be impacted to more help people help themselves? Perhaps pressure from churches that see injustice and then call it out. Perhaps pressure from charities AND individuals where injustice is found. As council and central government, both at Holyrood and Westminster, budgets are squeezed and they make decisions about spending, maybe we should question where the limited resources should be best spent.
The reality is that there will never be enough money for all that councils and governments might want to do so wise decisions need to made, and the same applies to family budgets too. Parents decide where to spend the family budget and what priorities they have and when finances are low sometimes tough decisions need to be taken. Wisdom in such decisions is important.
I pray that we are wise with the F3 program: that as demand increases and knowing always our resources are limited, we will provide all we can, as fairly as we can and in doing so support the most vulnerable and needy. In doing this, we also share the light that is Christ. For we only do what we do because we know as church (the body of Christ) we could not do it in our own strength, but only through and with His power.