Since the coronavirus pandemic first began, thousands of people have been swept into devastating poverty. But in order to help serve those in need, charities across Teesside stepped up throughout the pandemic.

The Genesis Project, a community group based in Grove Hill in Middlesbrough, aims to care for the local community through hosting a range of groups and sharing the love of Jesus. But since covid, the project has had to adapt how they serve their local community.

Being based in Grove Hill, the project is situated in one of the most deprived areas in England. During the pandemic, the project found people have been struggling to feed their children, particularly when children had been off school for a long time.

Rev Kath Dean leader of The Genesis Project explained how young mothers had been surviving lengths of time without even being able to buy basic food items or shower gel. “Some people have even been going without food themselves to make sure their children have meals on the table,” she said.

The project noticed a need to help the vulnerable, so decided to start giving out food packs providing people with fruit, veg, and essential items. “It’s the basic things that we would really take for granted that others are going without,” Kath told me.

Since giving out food parcels, The Genesis Project has spread outside the Grove Hill community. People have come from TS1 to TS8; queuing outside for up to an hour despite the weather. “There is a real need for the work we are doing,” Kath said, “we are giving out anywhere between 100-120 food parcels a week and even clothes.” 

Despite the success of the project, The Genesis Project heavily relies on the support and blessing of others. “We couldn’t do it without the donations,” Kath told me, “once we couldn’t even afford to put our heating on during a church service, we had to sit in a smaller room to keep warm.” So, the project was extremely thankful when they received a donation from Jubilee Church Teesside.

Jubilee church Teesside take up an offering in the Autumn every year. The money raised goes towards various projects within the church, overseas or local initiatives across Teesside.

But as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the church wanted to evaluate its approach. The elder of the church Gavin Rodgers explained how the church decided to focus a proportion of the offering towards ‘Frontline’ Charities, supporting people through the pandemic.

Jubilee Church Teesside wanted to support organisations that were involved with some of the most vulnerable people in the local area. “We wanted to support some smaller organisations which at times may struggle to gain funding elsewhere,” Gavin told me.

Jubilee Church Teesside decided to bless a range of charities across Teesside, serving support in employment, learning support, food and clothes provision, youth work and support for families. One of which was The Genesis Project in Grove Hill.

The Genesis Project has been vital in ensuring support has been delivered to the frontline, Gavin explained to me. “They have been doing an outstanding job, it was heart-warming to see how much the donation meant to them.”

Gavin explained how privileged Jubilee Church Teesside felt in being able to play some small part in supporting vital, but much-needed work. “It’s charities and organisations like this that has been a lifeline to so many during this pandemic, our gifts pale into insignificance compared to the amazing work that they have done,” Gavin told me. 

Going forward The Genesis Project hope to continue with what they are doing with the launch of a community shop. “I still want to be able to be there for the community by providing things they need,” Kath said.

Kath is hoping once lockdown eases to invite local schools in for teaching sessions in their community garden, to learn about the environment and growing food, as well as host a BBQ for volunteers and people they have helped throughout the pandemic.

Kath hopes that through the project’s actions they have been able to share the love of Jesus. “There are more ways than one to share the love of God,” Kath said, “and for some people, they have expressed they don’t know what they would have done without the church.” 

The Genesis Project is open every week, with food parcels being collected on a Friday. Emergency packs are readily available any day for those who need them. For more information visit there Facebook Page or call 07779 110313.

Photo credit – The Genesis Project Facebook Page.

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