Dursley’s food stand is a success for the community

Last updated on July 26, 2022 by Ann-Marie Nye

As the cost of living rises, a church in Dursley has brought together people from across the community and beyond to donate surplus food from supermarkets for free.

Every Monday morning and some Thursdays, food that would otherwise be thrown away is displayed on a bright red and yellow stall outside Dursley Tabernacle Church.

It was a big hit with passers-by.

The stand is the latest development from the church’s food surplus team which has been delivering packages to homes affected by Covid and food poverty since April 2020.

Volunteers from across the community have joined the team, which now partners with Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Lidl, Tesco and Aldi, collecting food near or at its best before date or in excess of store needs.

The market stall was provided by The Arcadian, a shopping center in Birmingham, who generously agreed to donate it when they heard about the Tabernacle’s plan to save food destined for trash.

Later this summer, the church aims to launch a community food center with increased hours of operation and a community fridge to add chilled foods to what is already on offer.

Hub coordinator Leonie Luffingham said: “It has been remarkable to see the food surplus project expand and grow.

“Our vision is to help people who want to complete their weekly groceries while helping to reduce food waste. It is accessible to absolutely everyone.

“We are aware that the rising cost of living is affecting many people and we hope this will help a little. You never really know what you’re going to have, but there’s almost always bread and pastries!

“A huge thank you must go to The Arcadian for the stand and all of our volunteers who collect, sort and deliver food and flowers each week.”

Reverend Simon Helme, Minister of the Dursley Tabernacle, added: “As a church we are inspired by the example of Jesus to nurture and care for each other, and it has been wonderful to see how the collaboration intercommunity allowed us all to explore how we can love our neighbor in a practical way.

“We hope the bright colors and the baked goods will help bring a smile to people’s faces and even a little joy.”