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Lockdown: Parish responds with 'CARE' project to help hundreds in need

by Heather Preston

A church-run project set up to help those in need during the coronavirus lockdown now has over 100 volunteers.

The Church Assistance Request in an Emergency (CARE) project was set up by a group of churches in south-east Wales and focuses on five key services: food parcels, click-and-collect shopping deliveries, prescription delivery, befriending, and spiritual care.

The initiative was established in under a week, ready for the start of the national lockdown on March 23th. 

Coordinator Revd Dean Aaron Roberts tells Premier there are some 10,000 people living in his parishes and he felt a responsibility to support them.

"Once we started being told that we have to go into lock down, it was weighing heavily on my mind that we had these resources, these buildings, and I had access to a lot of people in the community and in the church who could help," he said.

The service received 224 calls in the first week and 70 food parcels were made up and delivered and 100 volunteers have been recruited from across the churches and the wider community of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry. 

The service, which is helping a range of people from the elderly, families on benefits and the recently unemployed, is displaying the gospel in action, according to Roberts.

"It's about meeting spiritual need, telling people about Jesus but also demonstrating our faith in how we live and work as well.  

"We put a little letter in each food parcel, every prescription that we deliver, to say this is your local church doing this because Jesus loves you and wants to be with you in this and people get information that on how to connect with our services," he added.

Demand has continued to increase and CARE is now an official partner of Caerphilly County Council, fulfilling some of its demand from residents for extra care.

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