THE HEART OF THE MATTER
At Soul Food we believe in beautiful spaces that hold long tables and delicious, homemade food. Spaces where anyone who is hungry is fed, loved supported, seen and heard. Spaces that whisper of hope, justice and transformation. Where there is always room for one more. As you know, we create these spaces in local churches because we believe that hospitality is at the very centre of what it is to be church.
Soul Food offers the warmest of welcomes, an invitation to relationship and a promise of support and community. We see Soul Food meals as declarations that the church and local community cares deeply about the fact that people in our neighbourhoods and city are hungry and it is a statement of intent to engage in any way possible in this issue of grave injustice. With an invitation to dinner, the church that hosts a Soul Food meal, wishes to offer friendship and solidarity to those who feel themselves pushed to the edges of society.
If you are having to wait weeks for a Universal Credit payment and have absolutely no money, you feel yourself pushed to the edges.
If you have been living in a B&B for months on end bidding for flat after flat hoping to find a secure home, you can feel pushed to the edges.
If you are dependent on local foodbanks, on places offering free meals, because your benefits simply do not stretch, you can find yourself walking miles every day, just for meal and find yourself pushed to the edges.
If you have no recourse to public funds, you are completely reliant on charitable organisations and you can find yourself passed one to another, feeling increasingly on the edge as you meet road blocks at every turn.
A Soul Food meal is a promise to walk alongside our neighbours in the situations that they
We talk about the fact that Soul Food is ‘more than a meal’. It isn’t a meal ‘done’ to people but ‘with’ each other. The local church may begin the meal, but it is always with the intention that anyone who comes along can be part of making the meal what its locality needs it to be.
We believe that around tables and over dinner we get to know each other. We connect over the stories of our lives and we forge relationships that are life giving and changing. When we get to know those in our communities who are dealing with poverty, homelessness, isolation and loneliness, the statistics that we hear about in the news and read in our newspapers become the stories of our friends and neighbours. They become stories that are personal because they are situations of injustice that our friends are walking through.
In the recent Edinburgh Poverty Commission report: A Just Capital: Actions to End Poverty in Edinburgh, it talked of how churches and charities that provide free food should not be the 4th emergency service. We agree. The issue of hunger in our country needs to be addressed by systemic change which needs Scottish Parliament to radically implement.
We feel that the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2021, offer us an opportunity to raise our voices and ask that the injustices of poverty are at the forefront of every MSP’s agenda. And this is where we need your help. Employing the art of ‘gentle protest’ we wondered if you could help us to ‘knit’ truth to power?! We want to send 129 knitted hearts to each of the elected MSP’s, along with a letter from individuals belonging to Soul Food communities, explaining ‘The Heart of the Matter’. Each letter will be a story of our city. Stories that are being shaped by the injustices of poverty. Stories that we believe, can be addressed and changed.
We will be asking each MSP to consider how they will address the stories our guests have told them and will make an urgent call to action against lives being destroyed by poverty, isolation and loneliness.
If you would be happy to pick up your knitting needles and knit a few hearts, please get in touch. Thank you for joining us in our first act of Soul Food craftivism, you have our heartfelt thanks.