Edinburgh City Mission started in 1832. Since the very beginning, our organization has worked thanks to the generous support of people in Scotland with a heart for poverty relief and for seeing this city transformed by the Gospel. In 2020 we launched a special appeal to ask our supporters to stand by us in prayer and financial support as we give ourselves to this task, that many more vulnerable people in Edinburgh would have their lives transformed. With the current Covid-19 crisis, we have seen an increase in the number of families we support. Can you help with a one-off donation to support vulnerable people in our city? Or could you become a Mission Enabler, which is what we call our monthly donors, to help us grow our impact? If you have any questions, please get in touch by email or DM, we'd love to hear from you!
We decided to try something new. The young people at Carrubbers Christian Centre on the Royal Mile offered to host a Christmas lunch for our Basics Banks guests at the end of last year. In the run-up to it, 45 foodbank Guests confirmed. Saturday arrived and the teenagers showed up early in the morning to set up tables and prepare a lovely three-course lunch. They worked really hard all morning to get everything prepared. By 1pm the meal was ready but only 6 guests had arrived! One of our Mission Strengtheners, Andy, got us all to grab our jackets, take to our feet and go out onto the High Street, down to the Cowgate and into Waverley station, inviting homeless people who were on the streets or in the hostels to come along for the fantastic lunch which had been cooked. Quite a few people came in and we had a lovely lunch together. After the meal, Andy shared his testimony and seven people responded in faith and committed, or re-committed, their lives to the Lord! Praise God!
I started helping out at the Basics Banks after needing to use one myself - I know how hard it is walking through that door. When I came, I had no friends or family, so having a friendly person listening to what I had to say meant the world to me. Volunteering means I can be that person for someone else. I can listen to others, give them hope and encourage them as they face their week.
There was one time at the Basics Bank when a woman came really sad and upset - she wanted to end her life. I called on God to help me through the chat with her and I was able to help her. She left smiling that day and a month later she gave her life to God! Life can be dark and lonely. But with God there is hope and light. Jesus gives us a story to help others.
All our Basics Banks are continuing to operate, but following the regulations made by the UK government in response to Covid-19, our team is adjusting and changing the way they operate to guard the health of our clients, staff and volunteers.
At this difficult time, as we initially anticipated, there has been an increase in the number of families referred to our Basics Banks. It is for this reason that we have asked people who were keen to do so, to donate food and essential items at our new Food Storage Centre at Len's Self-Storage, 11 Bankhead Broadway, EH11 4DB. It is open Monday to Friday from 3pm to 4pm. We also recognize that it might be difficult for some to drop off food there, so we have also created a dedicated fund-raiser to enable us to purchase food for vulnerable families in our city. Our target will allow us to cover the estimated increase in the demand for the next couple of months. We'll reassess this week by week.
If you would like to donate specifically to our food fund please click here.
The Care Van started life in 1991 when Bethany Christian Trust and Edinburgh City Mission established what, at the time, was called the Care Caravan, a mobile unit for food and drink for the homeless at Waverley Bridge. This ministry was based on the Christian belief that everyone has value and dignity, no matter what circumstances they find themselves in. The Care Caravan was renamed the Care Van in 1996. Despite the name change, the heart behind the Care Van is the same: to show the love of Jesus to those on the fringes of our society. It is very exciting to see the faithfulness of God over almost 30 years of this amazing ministry!
As a response to Covid-19 the Care Van is operating with smaller teams and only with volunteers who are not part of any risk groups in terms of their health conditions.
Soul Food is a home-cooked generous meal that is held in churches across Edinburgh, that hopes to declare that the Church cares deeply about the fact that folk in our city are hungry, homeless, isolated and lonely. The vision of Soul Food Edinburgh is to partner and practically support local churches to establish Soul Food meals in their communities. We believe that around a table, relationships are begun that bring change, hope and transformation. All of this can start through this simple model of a meal and an invitation to dinner!
In March we opened another Soul Food Meal at Carrubers Christian Centre. As a response to Covid-19 Soul Food is now operating as a Grab and Go takeaway service. We have also seen an increase in the number of people relying on this service in the last couple of weeks. Find out more information about the times and days of the week we run Soul Food here.
In February we decided to expand the work that we have been doing with Refugees and Asylum Seekers by adopting the work that was being carried out by Edinburgh Churches for Sanctuary as they closed this year.
As a response to Covid-19 we no longer visit the families that we support, but we are still in contact with them, calling them every day and making sure they have the support they need. We are also strengthening a network of befrienders that can grow a relationship with these families at this time of crisis and beyond. Find how you can get involved here.
According to the recent “Transforming Scotland” report by the Barna Group, only half of those who profess a personal faith in Jesus in Scotland believe that they have a responsibility to tell others about Him. We need to stir up a concern in our churches for others to hear about God’s grace and love that are ours through Jesus. Edinburgh City Mission has an incredible opportunity to provoke this concern, to stir up churches to get involved in their local communities and share God’s love. We appeal to you to stand by us in prayer and financial support, to contribute to our Spring Appeal, as we give ourselves to this task, that many more people in Edinburgh would experience forgiveness and hope through the good news of Jesus.