Food for thought

Desmond Dongo and Audrey Parkin serve customer Ronnie Whitlock
Desmond Dongo and Audrey Parkin serve customer Ronnie Whitlock

A CHURCH is offering cheap meals to those struggling to buy food.

Hartlepool’s Elim Living Waters Christian Fellowship has opened up a kitchen to sell breakfasts and dinners at just £2 a go.

Anyone can take advantage of the offer at its Whitby Street cafe, but the church volunteers’ main aim is to help those who find it hard to afford a hot meal.

Reverend Colin Sawtell, who helps run the not-for-profit venture, said: “We’ve had a change and after a year of hard work our kitchen is open.

“We are not making money to pay salaries, we just cover the running of the place.

“We are trying to give people in need a good, cheap meal twice a day.

“Sadly, people without much money are prevalent in this town at the moment so we are doing this to help them a bit.”

Breakfasts will be available from 9am-2pm and dinners from noon-2pm every day apart from Sunday.

The cafe also opens late at night on a Friday and Saturday.

From 10.30pm-1.30am revellers can pop in and buy snacks such as chips.

Rev Sawtell added: “When they come in and find out we are a church, they usually give us a bit extra.

“It’s the same for the breakfasts and dinners. Anyone can come in and have something to eat, and if they want to donate a bit extra that’s great.

“It’s absolutely fantastic, to be honest, the support we have been shown. All the money goes into helping others.”

The charity, which is manned by 15 volunteers, has been giving away food bags for more than a year and Rev Sawtell says they are currently handing out 80 food bundles a month, which provides enough to feed a person for three days.

People are referred to the charity from agencies such as probation, welfare services and the council for the food parcels.

Rev Sawtell added: “These are people who have nothing.

“They need help and we have been doing that through the food bags. The hot meals now gives them a chance to come and eat in a cafe, which they might not have been able to do before.”