In response to the ongoing cost of living crisis, churches in Ballymacash – including St Mark’s Parish – have come together to offer a free lunch five days a week to anyone who wants to drop in.
The Rev Lynne Gibson, rector of Ballymacash, explained: “The idea and vision for the cafe came from Jonathan Oates, the manager of the local Costcutter for the past 20 years. Jonny has been witnessing at first hand the food and fuel pressures which people are already experiencing.
“Following discussions with the four churches in Ballymacash and our community centre, and with the support of local sponsors, the Community Cafe was launched.”
The drop in café – nicknamed ‘A Bowl and A Roll’ – first opened on Monday October 31, and runs five days a week from 12 – 2pm, providing hot soup and a roll along with tea/coffee and biscuits.
Each local church runs the café on a particular day. Emmanuel Baptist on a Monday, Trinity Methodist on a Tuesday, Elmwood Presbyterian on a Thursday and St Mark’s each Friday, while the community centre is open for the lunches on Wednesdays.
Lynne added: “It has been heartening to have the local churches working together to help their own community, and to have local sponsorship.
“This service is free and available to everyone who wishes to drop in for warm food in a warm space with warm conversation.”