Light in The Darkness
Derek, Jane and team prepare parcels at Warehouse
In what Derek calls a ‘God incident,’ Bedfordshire County Council, his employer, were offering early retirement packages. Derek applied but was rejected. Shortly after, the Council said they would reconsider. He reapplied, was accepted, and left with a full pension aged just 49!
“That airlift of food parcels was the beginning of an annual Harvest time project which has become ‘Harvest for The Hungry’”
In September 1993, Derek was appointed Director of ‘EuroAid’, emphasising TEN’s humanitarian work. Now with some income, TEN topped up his pension to a living wage. In April 1992, the Balkan War escalated with the siege of Sarajevo. In the autumn of 1993, TEN was offered the chance to share the cost and load space of a giant transport plane, taking vital aid into Zagreb.
“That airlift of food parcels was the beginning of an annual Harvest time project which has become ‘Harvest for The Hungry’,” Derek said. “So, this Harvest will be our 30th anniversary. As I look at the devastating Ukraine war, the similarities are so clear: a brutal focus of aggression sending refugees fleeing, and the knock-on effect on those neighbouring countries providing refuge and help.”
Now full-time with TEN, Derek sent a series of mailshots to every church leader and headteacher in selected areas, inviting them to pack food parcels.
Derek said: “That first year we filled half a truck from TEN (around 1,000 parcels) Almost every church and school in greater Kettering joined in. I’d write a letter, visit to give a presentation in schools throughout the day, and churches in the evenings. Schools and churches celebrate Harvest but often didn’t really know how to focus their appeal, so when we presented the need, they were delighted to help!”
“Some schools decorated the photocopy boxes they had packed with goods. Often, when reporting back in an assembly, I’d show a picture of boxes being handed over and a pupil would shout out ‘Hey, that’s one of our boxes!’ The schools were really happy that their hard work really made an impact.”
by Revd Paul Eddy