2021 has seen us still working under the shadow of Covid, but also under a new name - Foodbank + (plus). Edinburgh City Mission felt that Basics Bank didn’t really capture the breadth of support we offered and we all agreed. We feel the “+” expresses more fully the service we provide. We have remained open throughout, and more recently were able to reintroduce something of our ‘cafe style’, socially distanced, which is appreciated by our guests.

In terms of staffing, Archie moved on in the summer to his new role as Pastor in Training and, sadly, had to leave us. Terri was able to rejoin us for a time but was forced to retreat again as another variant and another wave hit. Pauline has also had to leave us for a time but we hope to welcome her back in 2022. Staffing numbers became a little precarious but fortunately ECM was able to release another staff member, Miles, to support us and we have appreciated support from Margo when her work commitments allow. Jenny continues to lead the food room supported by Ian, Dani, Al Mack and Stephen Langdon, while Sarah. Miles and I man the front of house, with Martainn on infection control. Laurence has continued to support us in his doorkeeper role.

We continue to be greatly blessed by donations of food and money, for which we are very grateful, and for all those who support us in prayer. Our neighbours remain very faithful in their “barrow deliveries” every Friday, including a “Christmas special” !

Referral rates remain steady, with many affected by Covid-19 and the ongoing economic situation. Guests report benefit delays or being “sanctioned” i.e. benefits stopped for several weeks following some action perceived as a misdemeanour by the DWP, e.g. missing an appointment; while others simply cannot live on the benefits they receive and either can’t find or are unable to work. We have seen several refugees and asylum seekers. They often have no recourse to public funds and tend to be with us for some time, allowing relationships to develop, including meeting up outwith Friday mornings. There have been some good conversations.

Prayer Points:

  1. We are thankful that we have been able to remain open, and praise our God for His amazing provision.
  2. Please prayerfully consider if you could support us in this work on Friday mornings. We can be busy with around 20 guests attending, which has tested us when one or two of our number have been unable to attend. The commitment does not require you to attend every week - once or twice per month would be most welcome. Perhaps consider it from the perspective of why you wouldn’t be able to help out?
  3. Please pray for more opportunities to have gospel conversations, and for relationships to be forged

Fiona Watson

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