A food bank is hoping residents will again support families in need this harvest, asking for tins of stewing steak and curry.
Traditional harvest gifts of fruit and flowers have been replaced in many local churches by tins, jars and packets of food for the Storehouse food bank.
“Over the past two years the majority of churches in the area have collected for the food bank,” said Beryl Worvell of the Stour Valley Vineyard Church, which started the scheme.
St Mary’s Church in Chilton asked for non-perishable harvest food gifts for the first time last year and the response was so generous that it will be collecting again at its harvest festival service on Sunday at 3pm.
St Gregory’s in Sudbury will be doing the same on Sunday, September 27.
“We believe it makes more sense in these times of austerity to give really practical help to those really in need instead of a few apples or pears,” said David Tibbetts-Chaplin, chairman of the trustees at St Mary’s.
Storehouse now gives out 74 bags a month to people referred by sources such as GPs, Social Services, welfare agencies and the local mental health team.
This has grown in six years from an initial two bags, with around 30 collection points in and around Sudbury where donations can be left.
Each bag, custom made for each family, includes enough non-perishables for three meals plus cereal, milk, tea and coffee.
The most needed items are tinned meats, with tins of baked beans or pasta the least required.
“A tin of stewing steak or curry is more useful than four tins of baked beans,” said Mrs Worvell. “A fairly typical reaction of those who collect bags is something like ‘I don’t know how I came to this, I’m embarrassed that I am in this situation.’ People are very, very grateful.”