USPG Supports Holy Trinity Community Kitchen

First published on: 14th June 2021

USPG Supports Holy Trinity Community Kitchen

 

Above: Gayl Russell, Coordinator of Holy Trinity Community Kitchen, making breakfast muffins. 

USPG has launched a new partnership with Holy Trinity Community Kitchen, a meal-providing initiative based at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Brussels. The Community Kitchen was established in September 2019, as a response to an increased need for food from Brussels’ refugee population. USPG’s support, part of our ongoing engagement with the Diocese in Europe’s Refugee Response Programme, will provide food for the Community Kitchen until 2023. Rev’d Canon Dr Paul Vrolijk, Canon Chancellor of Holy Trinity Cathedral, said, ‘USPG’s support is a great blessing, allowing the Community Kitchen to continue feeding those in need in the city of Brussels’.

Holy Trinity Cathedral is one of the two Pro-Cathedrals of the Diocese in Europe, serving as an alternative seat for the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, being much closer to European institutions than Gibraltar is. The church is home to a diverse congregation comprising members from over 40 different countries, including asylum seekers, high-ranking officials in the European Union, and many other residents of the Belgian capital.

The Rev’d Canon Dr Paul Vrolijk said, ‘A charity called Serve the City had been working alongside the Salvation Army to distribute food to refugees and the homeless in Brussels. However, the Salvation Army did not have enough space to both prepare and distribute meals. At Holy Trinity, we have a professional standard kitchen which we had previously under-utilised, which was ideal for meal preparation. In addition to contributions from our congregation, Serve the City has funded the Community Kitchen up until this point. Now we are using the kitchen to full capacity, with volunteers cooking food for the Community Kitchen most days of the week. USPG’s support means that we can maintain the number of meals we provide each week without having to worry about where the next month’s funding will come from’.

The Community Kitchen started off with just a few volunteers from the church but now produces around 1350 meals a week. Whilst it has increased its scope, the initiative remains rooted in the church life of Holy Trinity. Gayl Russell, Coordinator of Holy Trinity Community Kitchen, says ‘The kitchen is a ministry of the Church. It exists to provide support for people in need, inspired by the Christian message. Around a third of our volunteers come from Holy Trinity’s congregation, and up until now the financial support we receive has come primarily from the congregation too’.

The Rev’d Canon Dr Paul Vrolijk added, ‘The Community Kitchen provides an excellent opportunity for members of the church and people from outside the church to come together. One can sense that the passion shared by volunteers involved in the Community Kitchen is breaking down barriers between churchgoers and people who previously would have avoided church’.

Many organisations helping refugees in Brussels had to close, either temporarily or permanently, because of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Holy Trinity Community Kitchen was able to continue its work whilst Brussels was under lockdown restrictions. Rev’d Canon Dr Vrolijk said, ‘Volunteers from the kitchen produced food from home rather than at the church. These volunteers were able to produce over 1000 breakfast muffins a week which were then distributed to refugees. Once the City of Brussels granted the Community Kitchen permission to use our facilities during the lockdown, we were able to provide more substantial meals. We’re very glad that we have been able to resume our work, as the need for food for the refugee population of Brussels is as strong as ever, and there are now fewer organisations around to answer this call’.

For more information about Holy Trinity Community Kitchen, go to www.holytrinity.be/community-kitchen.