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In the early 90s the Church family realised that there was a need for emergency short-term assistance for families who found themselves in acute distress and for whom the State benefit system could offer no immediate help. Their response was to organise a Food Cupboard.
The Food Cupboard works primarily through MK Children's Social Services but also supports, upon request, the Women's Refuge (MK Act). This organisation provides a safe haven and shelter for women and their children who have suffered from a variety of abuse.
Some food-giving agencies will only work within certain land boundaries or with certain kinds of problems - and often during office hours. We cover the area served by Milton Keynes Social Services throughout the day and into late evening, seven days a week, and 52 weeks a year – hunger does not keep office hours.
Because financial resources are not limitless, the Food Cupboard restricts its giving to families with children and does so regardless of race, colour or creed – hunger is universal.
We try, when possible, to adjust our packs to make allowance for allergies, cultural limitations or family cooking and storage problems; but this variance is limited in what we can offer. In recent years, we have seen an increase in families put into emergency accommodation. Many of these only have a kettle & tea making facilities, (a few having an additional microwave), with no access to fridge/freezer, clothes washing or any other amenities. Providing food for a week under these conditions is, to say the least, a challenge.
At Easter time we like to include chocolate Easter eggs for the children of the families who receive our food parcels.
Many schools and churches, in the Milton Keynes area, very generously donate the proceeds of their Harvest Festival to the Food Cupboard. We are also supported by a few voluntary groups, churches and schools during the Christmas time celebrations, which allow us to provide Christmas Hampers for 50 families designated by Social Services. They are provided with festive food, according to family size, and individually wrapped and labelled presents. We also give similar support to the Women's Refuge (MK Act), to help them with their Christmas festivities.