Mayor of Southwark calls in on Cathedral Community Fridge and visits Oscar Romero shrine

On Friday 9th June the Breakfast Club and Community Fridge in the Archdiocese of Southwark was given a great boost with the visit and encouragement of Archbishop John Wilson, Bishop Philip Moger and the new Mayor of Southwark, Councillor Michael Situ.

Back in March at the launch of Caritas Southwark, the new social action organisation for the Archdiocese, Archbishop John made this request,

“I ask every parish and school in our Archdiocese to take up a new outreach to people who face poverty, homelessness, isolation, and rejection. From small seeds, mighty trees can grow to provide shelter from the burning hear of pain and suffering. So, let us plant seeds of practical love. Let us do something for our community, for those beyond the walls of our churches. Let us build partnerships and work collaboratively. Let us create opportunities to call forth the gifts and talents of the people of our Archdiocese, in loving and humble service of others.”

With this invitation in mind, the Dean of St George’s, Fr Michael Branch, followed through by establishing a Breakfast Club and Community Fridge, ably supported by Cathedral staff and ecumenical friends from the Oasis Community Fridge, who have many years of experience in establishing similar outreach projects.

The current economic situation means that many people are struggling to pay bills. The evident increase in numbers attending the Cathedral Breakfast Club and Community Fridge demonstrates that the need is significant, but so is the level of generosity and goodwill from individuals and companies, meaning that no one goes short on basic food supplies.

Information about the project recently reached the Mayor of Southwark, Councillor Michael Situ, who decided to visit and witness, first hand, the invaluable work being undertaken.  On Friday 9th June 2023 he was warmly welcomed to St George’s by Archbishop Wilson and the Cathedral Dean, and talked to a number of the clients over some light refreshments.  After visiting the Community Fridge he was given a tour of St George’s Cathedral by the Dean, who introduced him to the National Diocesan Shrine of St Oscar Romero and that of St Francis Cabrini, as both saints are recognised for their compassionate stance towards the poor and needy. Councillor Situ lit a candle at each shrine and stated his gratitude to all at St George’s  Cathedral for their help. and for “bringing hope to the residents of Southwark at a financially challenging time”.

in turn, Archbishop Wilson expressed his thanks to the Mayor for his visit and encouragement with the project, and also to all who make the Community Fridge possible by “putting the love of Christ into action without question.”

Putting Faith into Action

The cost of living has increased dramatically in the past year, placing an additional burden on many sections of society,  The Trussell Trust recently reported an 81% increase in the need for food banks during 2022, with 2.1 million food parcels being donated.

Caritas Southwark aims to relieve poverty by offering guidance to parishes who wish to establish a foodbank or community fridge scheme, thereby supporting those who are struggling locally with low income and financial restrictions. A number of small grants are also now available to help establish projects that put faith into action in the Archdiocese of Southwark. Parishes who are interested in exploring this opportunity, or schools who wish to become involved, are encouraged to contact Caritas Southwark as follows:

To donate to the Cathedral Community Fridge: