By Bejay Browne
A NEW community centre in Paphos opened by a local church will start to operate a soup kitchen in the next couple of weeks.
Pastor Allan Hodgson of Paphos Christian Fellowship International (PCFI) said as soon as a suitable cooker can be found, the project will be up and running.
“We are appealing to the public for a catering-sized gas cooker… it would be even better if we could get it at a reduced rate,” he said.
The pastor said he hoped the centre’s new more visible location would encourage people in need to come forward for help and will also provide a valuable outlet for selling produce from the community garden. The new project is housed in the old Welcome Inn in Kato Paphos.
The garden project, which has been underway in since February, is called ‘Matthew 25’, in reference to a chapter in the bible; and is manned by volunteers. They grow vegetables and work on the land and eat what they grow. They also give the produce to needy families.
“We need the help of a Cypriot to give us expert advice about when and how to plant our field. We need to get ready for growing potatoes now, which will also be used at the new soup kitchen,” said Hodgson.
Some produce from the project will also be sold at the new premises, the proceeds of which will be used to help feed and clothe the poor. The pastor said that a tractor would have to be hired to plough the field for the winter and a pick-up truck was also needed to transport the produce.
“People have been very generous with cash donations, which have been earmarked for the Matthew 25 project, and we thank them for that. Six people have also volunteered to help us with the soup kitchen and others have brought along donations of food,” he said.
The pastor added that the community centre would open this coming Sunday for their first worship: “and then, as soon as we can – and we have a cooker, we will start the soup kitchen,” he said.
He said that along with the 50 or so congregation, a decision was made to trust that only people who were genuinely in need would come forward for help. “We don’t want to have to check on people’s circumstances. There may be those that take advantage, but we must try to do it this way.”
The new community centre will feed the hungry, sell produce from the community garden, hold sales and other events to raise money.
“We hope the new centre will be a place where everyone in the community is welcome, whether you worship with us or not.”
The pastor added that donations and volunteers would be welcome.
For more information, contact Pastor Allan Hodgson on 96 217416 or [email protected]