Maria's Story


It was Christmas week 2015 and I was in a really bad place, and I found myself outside the door of the Food Bank. As I stood in the doorway I was so scared I couldn’t move, Johnny, my son, pushed me through the door. “Hello, I’m Kay would you like a cup of tea?”, I stood there startled and after a couple of seconds Johnny said “mum do you want a cup of tea?”, I nodded “yes please!” I was in total shock, it wasn’t like anything I’d expected, there was homemade bread pudding, biscuits, fresh fruit on the table and a lovely lady (Kay) was making a cup of tea. Everyone was so welcoming, so kind and I didn’t feel judged, it felt like a safe place and people really cared. 

That following spring I started volunteering at the Food Bank, just an hour a week to begin with, and actually I’ve never looked back since. The same warmth and compassion I felt during my first visit, was there every week.

As I’ve got to know more of the staff and volunteers it became clear to me that it was that warmth and compassion that kept me coming back week after week. Like so many others, I was someone in a spot of trouble who needed that little bit of extra help and no one judged me for it, all they offered me was love. 

In the short few years I’ve been coming to the Vineyard, I’ve gone from being someone who wouldn’t leave the house on my own, to becoming a person who has been all over the place, I’ve been to Faith Camp, New Wine and two conferences at Trent Vineyard. My life has changed so much, being here has done for me what none of the doctors, psychiatrist or medication could do, its helped me find my purpose in life. Whether I’m serving on the host team on a Sunday morning, or welcoming new people to Alpha on Mondays or Gateway on Tuesdays, I’m so much stronger and more confident now, and I feel like a person again and not a burden. And best of all I’ve come to know and love Jesus along the way, He has changed everything!

And so I really do believe this place saved my life the day my son pushed me through the door of the Food Bank, and it all started with a friendly face and, of course, the offer of a lovely cup of tea.