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Church based in former Derry nightclub helps almost 100 families in need of food

Important service set up in Duke Street building

Hope Centre Derry

John Loughery from the Hope Centre with one of the food parcels.

A drive-through food bank set up by a Waterside church gave out 90 bags of food last week in an effort to help those who are struggling financially during the current crisis.

The Cornerstone City Church  is based in the Duke Street building that was previously home to the 'Red Rooms' nightclub.

It also houses the church's 'Hope Centre' which offers food and clothing banks, counsellors and money management help and advice.

The Hope Centre has been forced to close due to the coronavirus, but the drive-through food bank service allows them to continue their charitable work whilst observing social distancing.

Church elder, John Loughrey, explained: "People are able to drive straight in off the Duke Street Roundabout and we have staff in high vis jackets to direct them.

"When they come in we just ask them to pop their boot open and we can place the bags of food inside. They don't even have to get out of their car.

"They are only there for a few minutes and it means we can still serve people the best we can."

Mr Loughery said the recipients of the food parcels, which contain tinned and dried goods and fresh vegetables, have been very grateful.

"There was a man who contacted us on Facebook and he has seven kids.

"He said 'you have no idea what this means to me'

"And there was another woman who rang for help and we left her round three bags of food.

"She rang us back in tears saying 'this is exactly what I need'.

"We are here to help. If Jesus was here he wouldn't be sitting with the rich and famous he'd be among the people."

As the Cornerstone City Church cannot hold services at the moment it has moved them online.

"We usually have people from across the city coming to our church," said Mr Loughery.

"There are people from the Protestant community and the Catholic community.

"We're here to worship God. People are searching for something right now. There are people that are coming to us for food and they are wondering 'what are they about?'

"They are sussing us out and that's great.

“Our online videos have been shared and viewed thousands of times,” said Mr Loughrey.

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