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​Early April the Tuckerbox ministry at Holy Cross Anglican Church Hackett put out a call for volunteers to staff the food ministries for Easter Saturday – that is, in a social distancing sort of way. Bishop Mark and Monica Short contacted Sue Jordan about helping. One o’clock on the 11th April, Bishop Mark and Monica Short turned up to Tuckerbox with their plastic gloves, excited to be part of the team.

Tuckerbox, as explained on their website, is a weekly food service for people with tight budgets. Groceries such as shampoo, meat, dairy, bread, fresh fruit and vegetables are available for a nominal fee. Additionally, it provides free food.

COVID-19 has made this ministry, and our other food security services in our beautiful Diocese, even more essential. Our food security ministries through Anglicare and the churches do need our prayers and help, please. Food and goods shortages, recent difficulties in accessing supplies, hoarding, groceries becoming increasingly expensive, the growing number of unemployed, fewer volunteers and staff due to the need to self-isolate and people’s fear of leaving home – together are all impacting essential ministries and the ability of people in need to access food assistance.

The Tuckerbox team’s profound love for each person receiving support that afternoon was inspiring. Kirsty Baker, with her welcoming smile and kindness, led the team in prayer and orientated everyone to the ministry.

Everything was thoughtfully set up in advance. Three different sites were running on 11th April. Mark, alongside others, recorded the details of people seeking food /assistance. Monica joined the volunteers helping people purchase groceries. At the end of the shift, Ben Paton skilfully debriefed everyone, and we prayed for the people who attended Tuckerbox that day.

Bishop Mark and Monica spoke to each person who attended Tuckerbox that afternoon and offered to pray for them. Between them, Bishop Mark and Monica think they prayed with nearly every person. People repeatedly said, ‘Thank you, I needed that’.

People explained that they really need prayer right now because times are hard, and they are worried. They are spiritually hurting. Bishop Mark and Monica are so thankful that the Tuckerbox team brings hope in these times and also sees each person holistically, in a genuinely person-centred way. Each person is precious to God.

We cannot see COVID-19. We cannot see God. However, both impact us. COVID-19 brings fear. God and His people who are following the example of Jesus bring sacrificial love. Bishop Mark and Monica wish to thank all who are sharing God’s love and comfort with others in their situations, just like the volunteers at Tuckerbox. Thank you! You are all our heroes! May God bless and keep you.

by Monica Short

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