Church in action at Village Store Cupboard

This week, we were delighted to hear that Ann Sibley (pictured far right) and Julie Cawood (far left), whom many of you will know from church, were honoured for their outstanding efforts in running the Stoke Poges Store Cupboard at St Andrew’s for the duration of lockdown. They were presented with their awards, along with Sue Lynch who runs the Good Neighbour Scheme (right) by Joy Morrissey MP (left).

Ann is our caretaker and lettings manager and I asked her how she felt about receiving the award:

“I feel very humbled to receive the award.  It was totally unexpected and I feel there were more deserving people than me who should have received one.  I would do it all over again.” This was echoed by Julie, who didn’t think she had done anything special (!) and was glad to have felt purposeful during a very uncertain time.

Ann’s favourite thing about running the Store Cupboard was knowing how much it meant to the recipients and how grateful they all were.  Also working with Julie was amazing every day. The trickiest part was making sure they had the food for our villagers ready for their care parcels which were sent out Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  They not only sent out the essentials such as bread, milk, tea, coffee but asked exactly what they needed and shopped for it and delivered it to them.

I wondered whether at the start of lockdown, when everything seemed so uncertain and we had seen such horrendous footage on the news from other countries, Ann felt nervous?

“I was not nervous at all.  My family were anxious for me as they said I was putting myself at risk.  Both Julie and I were very careful and strict by always wearing gloves, washing our hands regularly, wiping the food down and boxes and bags as we received it with antibacterial spray or wipes. We wore a mask when we went to the shops, opened windows and doors to have the air circulating and most importantly of all, kept our 2 metre distance.”

Julie and Ann would like to acknowledge all the people who helped make the Store Cupboard run smoothly:

“We could not have run the store cupboard without Natasha, Saera Carter, Sue Lynch and Bal Bahra the Pharmacist setting it up and agreeing for it to be run at St Andrews Church Centre.  Also all the very kind ladies and gents who regularly delivered the parcels to our villagers, especially Adele and Andrea who never missed a week; the very kind generous villagers who either donated food or cash on a regular basis, many being furloughed or not working and gave so generously.  

A special thank you to Mike and his wife who brought at least 3 bags of shopping every week of essentials and treats; the charities who donated money that paid our big shopping bills at Costco and Bookers and Phillipa who stepped in at short notice when I had to self isolate and was ill for 3 days.  A huge thank you to everyone as it was a team effort.”

From the occasional visit to the store cupboard, I know how organised it all was, thanks to Ann and Julie skills and though they are far too modest to mention it, Ann’s idea and their collective dedication offered the village a lifeline which many others did not have in their neighbourhood. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Donations were all sanitised and sorted, ready to be parceled up
Messages from grateful villagers

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.

Matthew 25:35