Cost of living: Vicar left in tears over community's food poverty – BBC


A vicar who has been brought to tears by the poverty in his community is one of hundreds of people in Wales providing free Christmas Day meals to those who may otherwise go without.
St Peter's in Holywell, Flintshire, hosts free meals every Monday and will feed about 80 on Christmas Day.
"It's heartbreaking," said its vicar Father Dominic Cawdell.
"I spend most Monday evenings in tears and I'm not a particularly soppy person."
On Monday his church fed 196 people.
"Lots were saying to me it was their only hot meal this week," he said.
"We had some horrendous stories of people, especially people with children, saying [the children] get the hot food and I get what's left.
"It's just heartbreaking to imagine that there are people in our town who just can't afford what you imagine to be the very basic level of what they need."
This year will be the church's eighth free Christmas Day lunch event following a two-year gap during the Covid pandemic when they offered a lunch delivery instead.
"We're booking up quicker than ever before for Christmas dinner and we've had requests for the first time ever from larger groups, from families that just simply can't imagine how they'll cook it themselves," Father Cawdell added.
Father Cawdell said he looked forward to the Christmas Day three-course lunch which ends in a sing-song.
"What I love most about it is that it's a group of people that you would never get together in any of that sphere – you'll have tables of people that might have addiction problems that are really struggling, then the families that we work with every week, you might have elderly people who have nowhere else to go, people from church that wouldn't have anywhere else to be and the helpers who all eat together," he said.
"It's just remarkable."
He said pre-booking was helpful but no-one would be turned away on Christmas Day.
Plumber Pete Humphreys is also running a free Christmas Day lunch event at Yellow and Blue community hub in Wrexham.
"People are scared," he said.
"They don't know how they're going to control their heating bills… a lot of people are choosing food over warmth."
He said he had witnessed people in his community "going back to the very basics and trying to survive", adding: "It's getting scary out there."
Pete set up the non-profit social enterprise in 2016 after losing his father to cancer saw him "on a bit of a downwards spiral with my mental health".
"I've gone through homelessness so I've got a bit of experience and an affinity with the people on the streets and in temporary housing," he said.
The hub's activities include a men's mental health group, a veteran's group, a community larder and it has also been collecting Christmas presents for the children of those in need.
"People are cutting down on anything that's enjoyable because they've got to get the basics right," he said.
The hub's free Christmas meal event is in its third year.
"I I look forward to Christmas Day now because of helping others, whereas I never used to look forward to Christmas Day before because I lost my dad," he said.
He said the event was open to everyone.
"We don't have any sort of labels attached, so if you're feeling lonely or isolated and you just want to spend Christmas with other people that care then we open up the doors."
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