Picture shows l to r: Bishop Richard Pain, volunteer Desmond Gomes of St David Lewis RC Church, and Canon Henry Davies.
The Bishop of Monmouth, Rt Revd Richard Pain, is encouraging his clergy and parishioners to put their faith into social action. His call came after he visited the Food Bank in St David’s Church Community House, Bettws, and met volunteers who staff the centre.
After his visit, Bishop Richard said, “Having now visited several Food Banks in the Diocese, it is clear that they are filling a gap in the provision of care to vulnerable families. I was impressed with the unstinting work by the church volunteers who came from the various churches in the area. In conversation with workers, it became clear that the bedroom tax is having an unfortunate impact on low income families. The churches are one of the main players in filling the social welfare gap and ours can be an authentic voice speaking for the common good. Please support the vulnerable in your community and speak up for them.””
Bettws parish priest, Canon Henry Davies, explained that the Food Bank is open 1-2pm Monday to Friday and provides an average of three to four food parcels a day for individuals and families. People are referred from other agencies but they can pick up their first food parcel without external referral if necessary. As well as food, staff at the Food Bank are also looking to provide a befriending service, when they have time to chat to people when they come for their parcels.
Bettws Food Bank is one of the arms of Koinonia, the Church Community programme which supports community work done by other organisations. It provides the local community web site and the local community newsletter and is organising the summer Bettws Festival.
As Canon Henry Davies says, “The Church is not only there on Sundays, it is there for the people, seven days a week, and it is working hard to build up the community. It works with others on a variety of projects, all of which promote community cohesion.”