A bright, sunny but chilly morning greets another Sabbath of service at Chiswick SDA Church food bank.
Iris Sutherland-Foster – as she always seems to be – is all smiles, chatter, and enthusiasm readily adopted by her band of volunteers. Iris’ vision, drive, and hard work have created this unique environment. The sorting, stacking and heavy lifting is carried out with a carefree spirit as those with "A Nerve to Serve" prepare for the arrival of their guests.
Just before the doors are opened, Iris informed her team that we may have a visit from a special guest. The announcement that the Mayor of Hounslow Tony Louki would be in attendance is recognition of the profile of this community ministry, as well as providing Iris with another pair of willing hands.
Our guests arrive in need and leave under the strain of overloaded bags full of essentials - with the real winners being those shrewd enough to bring a trolley.
The Mayor, in full civic regalia, arrived in the middle of service. After the guided tour, he was keen to mingle with both guests and volunteers and it wasn't long before Iris put him to work on the fruit and veg section where he teamed up with a 15 year old volunteer named Antonio.
The mayor dubbed them "the two Tony's" and they set about serving up fun and laughter along with fresh produce. Mayor Louki commented how pleasing it was to see the commitment made by the congregation of Chiswick SDA Church, but what was most gratifying was the partnership that the service has struck up between the church members and volunteers from within the local community.
4pm arrived, the Mayor had departed, all of our guests had been served, and hopefully their plastic bags held out until they arrived at their respective homes. It was time to tidy up. Smiles and chatter are still evident, but perhaps the enthusiasm has come down a notch.
However volunteers from our community and church are fully aware of the impact of the time they have spent here. Not the most ‘restful’ Sabbath, but we are saved to serve.