By Andy Harding, Executive Pastor, Central Church, Edinburgh
As a church, we have felt that this season has been as hard as it has been challenging. We have tried to ensure we mature in our faith but also share the good news and prioritise those who are vulnerable.
The statistics suggest that there will be 82,100 individuals in poverty in spring 2021 in the city of Edinburgh that we know and love. Given this statistic we have responded by launching a Soul Food weekly meal, a café, clothes bank and increased our resourcing into the CAP and counselling ministries. Within these initiatives and our partner organisations we have seen a real need for good quality underwear. We wanted to respond to this, as this is basic human need and a matter of restoring dignity.
We launched Project Pants and we challenged ourselves to collect 82,100 items, equal to one for every individual likely to be in poverty. At the time of writing we have collected the equivalent of 36,000 items largely through cash donations. We are therefore able to give over £15k to schools, Bethany Trust and other charities to meet this real and obvious need. What’s equally exciting is seeing many of our church have collection points in their neighbourhoods, golf clubs, local post office and many fundraising events, plus a feature in The Edinburgh News. This has both met a need and been a real evangelistic opportunity as the church have stepped up and been positively received by those beyond our church walls.