A new project at Christ Church in Flackwell Heath is providing free slow cookers and recipe books to support local households who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
After reading news reports about the use of slow cookers as a cost-efficient way for households to cook hot meals, the Revd James Dwyer, Vicar of Christ Church, sought to find a way that the church could help local people struggling with the difficult choice of whether to heat their homes or eat during the cold winter months. He came up with the idea of giving away slow cookers for free, along with a recipe book specifically for cost-effective and healthy slow cooker meals, and offering an introductory ‘how to’ session at the church.
With the support of a grant from the Flackwell Heath Residents Association and additional generous funding contributions from the church congregation, the church is providing over 20 slow cookers to local households with the scope to provide more to those in need in the coming months. The project launched at the beginning of October with the church working in partnership with local schools and other community organisations to identify those families and households who would benefit the most.
The Revd James Dwyer shares more about the project:
“The aim of the slow cooker project is to bless people in the village over the winter and help alleviate some of the cost-of-living issues that so many households are facing. We also hope that through the project we can build connections with people, identify their needs and how the church can help.”
“We have a professional chef in our congregation so, with their help, we have put together recipe cards tailored for slow cookers, and they will be helping to run an introduction session at the church to help households get the most out of the slow cookers.”
Alongside the project, Christ Church have registered their morning Coffee Stop as a Warm Space as part of the national Warm Spaces initiative. Open every weekday morning, the café offers free hot drinks and a warm place for local people to meet with their neighbours. The church has also opened a community pantry in November to support those in the village who need help with food.
James explains why the church signed up to be a Warm Space and opened a community pantry:
“The pantry and the Warm Spaces project are ways to connect the dots for the village community, supplying food and ingredients for slow cooker meals and helping people to know that the church is here for them. We’re pleased to be able to offer a space for people to keep warm during the winter months and help reduce the burden on their energy costs.”
Listen to James speaking on Wycombe Sound Radio talking about the opening of the new Community Pantry:
People struggling to pay their bills, skipping meals, and unable to afford essentials are not isolated cases but part of a pattern of intensifying poverty that has been in evidence for years, as reported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. War in Ukraine and rising energy prices have now contributed to a cost-of-living crisis. Real-term income has been falling too so, unlike previous recessions, we are more frequently seeing those who are in jobs struggling financially, not just those who are unemployed.
Part of the church’s mission is to respond to human need by loving service and to transform unjust structures of society. Find information on support for individuals, churches, clergy, and steps your church can take to support those in your in need in your local communities.