RUTH SCHOFIELD: Remember those in need at harvest festival

HARVEST FESTIVAL Ruth Schofield
HARVEST FESTIVAL Ruth Schofield
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The Rev Ruth Schofield, the team vicar at St Columba Church, Fareham, looks forward to this Sunday’s Harvest Festival, but remembers those in need

AT THIS time of year, Christians celebrate Harvest Festival, when we thank God for all of the beauty of nature.

In particular, we think of our food, and all the people who are responsible for growing, catching, transporting and preparing it for us.

Farmers, the fishing fleet, supermarkets, cheesemakers, and factories making everything from pasta to tea bags – we depend on them all for the food on our plates.

And about 40 per cent of our food comes from overseas, so we can also be grateful to all those who work on ships and in our ports.

At St Columba Church we will be celebrating harvest this Sunday with a service of traditional hymns and prayers from 10am.

But harvest is not just a time for expressing our gratitude to God for all that we enjoy.

We also think about people who are hungry and how we can help them.

So we will be making a special collection of groceries and tinned food for the Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank.

In our community there are families who cannot afford to pay the bills and to provide nutritious food.

These families depend on the Basics Bank, which supports about 3,200 people each year.

Through vouchers given out to those who need and deserve help, it provides 1,600 food parcels a year, each of which feeds two people for a week.

The food is donated through local churches and supermarkets, and provides a simple selection of meals, including tinned meat and fish, pasta, rice, cereals and basic toiletries.

We do this as Christians because our faith involves caring for our neighbours, whether we happen to know them or not.

Helping to stock Foodbanks is a very practical way of doing that

It is also a fairly simple thing to do – we just buy slightly more than we need to from the supermarket.

Why not come and join us, or join in at a church near you, to sing We plough the fields and scatter this weekend.

And, if you can, take along some tinned or packeted food to share with those who really need it, via the Basics bank.

You’ll find St Columba Church at Hillson Drive, Fareham, PO15 6PF and don’t forget Harvest Festival worship is at 10am this Sunday, October 2.