A CHURCH elder at the Tabernacle Baptist Church has praised the support of people throughout Penarth during the Covid-19 crisis.

Claire Grafton runs the Tabernacle Food Bank, which distributes essential supplies to over 30 households across Penarth.

Her and a dedicated team of volunteers have been working together throughout the crisis to ensure that vulnerable people in the community are getting the support they need.

Their base of operations has recently moved from Arcott Street to the Tabernacle church on Plassey Street, where volunteers have more space to follow social distancing rules.

“At the moment we’re running with three volunteers a day”, said Claire.

“We’re asking for people to come with a list of what they need and one of our volunteers will go into the church and collect what we’ve got to address those specific needs”.

Claire and the team are currently getting ready for a surge in requirements as the epidemic escalates.

“We are expecting that as things start to bite, we will be seeing more people who have lost jobs and who’s circumstances have changed because of the virus”, said Claire.

“We are mostly supported by the other churches in Penarth where food arrives every week but obviously because they’ve had to close their services, we’re not going to be having that big weekly drop-off.

“However, people have been bringing stuff constantly, so it’s great.

“Folk from all over the community are dropping stuff in- even loo paper!”

“If any of us are ill there are lots of people who can step into our place. Providing that people continue to be generous then there won’t be a problem.

As increasing numbers of people self-isolate to protect themselves from the virus, Claire said that the food bank was able to offer deliveries if necessary.

“We are a very open foodbank. If you’ve got a need, just ask and we can do our best”, said Claire.

After the Church in Wales announced the suspension of public acts of worship, the Tabernacle and other churches in Penarth have been finding innovative ways to support their congregation.

“From this weekend we are going to be streaming virtual services”, said Clair.

“Our musicians are recording pieces in their homes which will be shared online.

“All our small groups meet on Zoom so we’re in touch with our congregation.

“The more elderly congregations are keeping in touch by phone and telephone to support them in every way – spiritually, emotionally and practically.

“The epidemic is pulling everybody together and cutting across denominational boundaries”.

The Tabernacle Foodbank is open for donations and collections between 10am and 12pm Monday to Friday.

You can also deliver donations to their collection point in Sainsbury’s on Windsor Road.

The foodbank would particularly welcome tinned products, including curry, chilli, corned beef, and potatoes.

For more information, visit: Info@tabspenarth.co.uk or call: 02920 702690.