Friday, 31 March 2017

Mealbank (part 2) by Carol Purves

In the autumn of 2016 the Association of Christian Writers (ACW) ran a competition for up to 1000 words on the subject of a Good Samaritan. The winning story was published in the Winter 2016 edition of Christian Writer, the magazine of ACW, which members receive through the post. The judges' comments on the top three stories appeared alongside the winning entry. Carol Purves’ entry came second. As Mealbank is a little long for a blog post, it is appearing here in two instalments.

Names have been changed to protect identity.

Continued from the previous post.

The work of Mealbank is not finished. Many, many people still cannot return to their homes. Their houses have not dried out sufficiently and the builders are busy and hard-pressed.

It is known that these church workers are Christian but there is no emphasis on this. They are here to help everyone and different groups are helping them. In the early days a group of Muslims from Manchester came to help as well as people from the Polish community and local supermarkets are still contributing food.

Over the months friends have been made. The people who share meals with this dedicated band have worked their way into their hearts. There is Anita, who has had a serious cancer operation, but is a very heavy chain smoker. The team have tried to support her, but they fear she will not survive. There is Robert who has no job or prospect of one, but spends his days picking up rubbish just to help the community. Carole, an older lady, has become loved by all. She is a compulsive buyer of ‘antiques’ from charity shops and can hardly move in her house because of her possessions.

Susie comes to us for meals but does not want to talk or communicate at all. She is the original loner. Lucy was expecting a baby when she first came and now has a healthy, lively youngster. Dave and Steve only want to be able to talk to the men helpers and sometimes the talk takes a religious turn. Julie now has a home or her own and job in Burger King but still wants to see people and enjoys the meals.

It is a policy to only serve the best food, with attractively laid tables, flowers and tablecloths. All are welcome, so long as they obey our rules. There must be no verbal abuse (difficult sometimes when they are so stressed), no smoking on the premises (a building yard adjacent to our cafe is well used each week. The team join them and chat with them and sometimes freeze with them.)
Needy families are referred by the local council and schools and clinics. There is no time limit on the work. While there is a need, help will continue to be given. Everything will be done to help them. It is something that can be done for others. They have the facilities and the manpower. As they bless, they are blessed in return.

Jesus said ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to eat, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me.’ Matthew 25:42

Carol Purves 
Carol Purves is a freelance writer, former teacher, secretary and member and former committee member of the Association of Christian Writers. She is also a member of Fellowship of Scottish Christian Writers and the Society of Authors. She hosts a local group of Christian writers.

She has written a number of biographies:

Gladys Aylward, A Life for China, From Prussia with Love (the life of George Muller), Travel with Frances Ridley Havergal (the hymnwriter) and Jute to Jungle (the life of Mary Slessor).

Her website is


  1. I have really enjoyed reading these 2 episodes of this story. Well done to everyone who has rolled their sleeves up and met the need.

    1. rosbayes, We had a lovely feeling of togetherness working for the Lord. Carol.