From Junior Church to leading the drive to support a foodbank

02 March 2023

A 9-year-old girl from Gateshead has become an inspiration to all ages in her Methodist church by encouraging collections for her local foodbank.

Eva learned about the work of the Gateshead Foodbank from her online Junior Church meetings and was upset to hear how some families were struggling with the cost of living crisis.  A few weeks later she took to the microphone at the front of her church,  Fellside Methodist Church, to encourage others to put donated food into a basket she had placed at the front of the church and within hours it was full.

“I was sad to hear that so many people were hungry where I live”, said Eva. “It made me sad to know other children don’t have enough food and I wanted to help them so I told everyone in church how important it is to donate something to the food bank.  We wanted to help a lot of people, so I got a big box.”

Eva’s Mum, Stevian, commented, “She was really moved by the plight of others and wanted to do what she could to help. Eva is normally quite shy but this was something she felt she wanted to talk about so she stood up at the front of the church to inspire everyone.”

Sam Cree is the Youth and Family Worker in the South West Tyneside Circuit, “Junior Church meets every week online. We have games, we learn about the Bible and we do crafts, sometimes we invite people along to speak.

“In November we had Carol, a volunteer from the Gateshead Foodbank, talk to us.  She told us about what the food bank does and why it is needed.  We encouraged the young people to collect throughout Advent, they were asked to pray for the foodbank and if possible collect one item each week in Advent to support them.  Eva wanted to collect as much as she could and encourage the adults to help too.

Eva’s collection box kept filling up, and they had to empty it after the first day.   In total Eva delivered 25 kilos of donations to the food bank and took it all to the warehouse with her mum.  She was given a tour and learned how foodbanks support people.  “Going to the foodbank made me a bit sad”, said Eva. “I asked if I can volunteer to help but I was too young as you have to be over 18. So I am going to collect more food.”

Eva held a coffee morning at the church in February that raised £327 for the foodbank and collected more donations. She plans giving up chocolate for Lent and is going to be asking the congregation to support the foodbank with Easter Eggs for the children.

Sam the Youth and Family worker said, “We are very proud of what has been achieved and how Eva encouraged so many adults to support the foodbank. You don’t have to be a grown up to inspire others.”