Loaves and Fishes Helping Stockport’s Homeless

loaves

With homelessness increasing by a reported 30% in the Stockport area in the last 12 months, it has become more vital than ever that the vulnerable people of the area receive support.
Luckily, in true Stockport tradition, the community spirit of the town remains as strong as ever with many initiatives providing much-needed basics.
One such organisation is Loaves and Fishes which provides free hot food for people every Sunday from Stockport Baptist Church on Greek Street.
One of the volunteers to lend their time – and culinary skills – to the cause is Monica Omidvar-Tehrani. During the week she is a Solicitor at Lovett’s Solicitors in Cheadle but, at least once a month she shares her passion for cooking as a part of the Loaves and Fishes team.
“I’ve been there since November and I thought it would be the best way to give up my time. We’ve got a rota, there’s four of us now and we start from 5pm on Sunday and we serve the food around six O’Clock.” Monica said.
Demand is brisk with around 30 to 40 people coming for the regular Sunday dinners and up to 50 when they put on specials events for Christmas or Easter.
The age range of visitors varies greatly as Monica explains:
“Most of the homeless people who come are male but the ages can range from 17/18 to late 60s, most of them are in their situation due to relationship breakdown or loss of job”
The project was started up from humble beginnings by Minister at Chelwood Baptist Church in Adswood, Ed Leavy in 2012 who began offering hot meals from the boot of his family car in St Mary’s Church car park.
“Nobody turned up the first night, but the next Sunday we did it again and three turned up and by the end of a six week period we were feeding up to 35 people” he said.
“People heard about it and different churches just sent volunteers down”
And it’s not just the local church community that have chipped in after hearing about it. Shortly after Ed gave a talk at Outreach where he mentioned they needed a van, bakery chain Greggs’ Ashton branch invited Ed down to see them:
“We went down there thinking we were going to get some sausage rolls and they gave us a van!” Ed recalls.
Ed also works with the local Police to help young offenders and was nominated by them for a 2015 Pride of Stockport award which he won.