Beanz meanz charity for couple's wedding guests

The words 'for richer, for poorer' had special meaning for bride and groom Jayne and Steve Leonard at their marriage in Croston.

Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 2:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 2:47 pm
Steve and Jayne on their wedding day in Croston

The couple’s wedding present list had things like tins of beans, packets of pasta and jars of baby food on it.

And guests responded by making up dozens of food parcels for the local Salvation Army food bank.

“We’ve lived together for 10 years and we didn’t need any more toasters or towels,” explained Jayne.

The couple with a trailer load of parcels for the food bank

“We didn’t want to ask people for money because I think guests always prefer to come armed with a present.

“So we decided we would ask for food donations for a worthy cause – to help families less fortunate than all of us. It became quite emotional.”

Jayne and Steve picked the Salvation Army as beneficiary after reading an article in the Lancashire Post highlighting the plight of the Preston food bank where supplies were in danger of running out.

Staff at the city centre church in Harrington Street made a desperate appeal for help, with the centre facing a “perfect storm,” approaching the school summer holidays and the introduction of Universal Credit this month.

The wedding gifts of food pile up at the couple's Croston home

“We’d already decided to do something like this, but when we read the article in the Post saying the Salvation Army food bank in Preston was down to its last few tins and desperate for help, both Steve and I said that’s where we’ll send the supplies,” said Jayne who works in IT.

“We got in touch with them and they were so lovely and so grateful. We also got in touch with Berry’s in Leyland and asked them if we could borrow some big building supplies sacks for people to put their donations in at the church and the Croston Sports Club. We filled four one-ton sacks with carrier bags of food – it was so brilliant.

“The Co-op at Leyland also helped and so did Neville Southall, the former Everton goalkeeper, who retweeted it on Twitter. We’re from Merseyside and Everton has always been our team, so that was brilliant.

“When we looked at the huge number of carrier bags full of supplies I got really emotional about it. I saw there was baby food in some of the bags and that made me realise just how desperate some people are just to feed their families.

“It’s outrageous that we have to do this in this day and age. But at the same time I’m so glad we did because I feel we have helped in a small way. Our guests have been so generous and I’m sure they feel the same.

“If other couples read about this and are inspired to do something similar it would be terrific.”

Jayne and Steve, who live in Croston, were married at St Michael and All Angles Church in the village and had drinks at the local Wheatsheaf pub before rounding off their wedding day at the Croston Sports Club.

“It was beautiful because we could walk from our home to the church and then from there to our local pub,” said Jayne.

Natalie Thomas, community centre assistant at the Salvation Army in Preston said: “We could never have imagined receiving the donations that came from Steve and Jayne’s wedding guests following our appeal for food supplies.

“It really is overwhelming and we’re so grateful for the abundant generosity of these supplies.

“In June we had 148 new referrals to the food bank and handed out 611 parcels. Sadly we expect the number to continue to rise through July and August.

“So many other people and groups in our community have also stepped forward to donate since the appeal and we continue to be thankful for every single donation.

“We hope that Steve and Jayne’s brilliant idea will continue to inspire many more people to offer a hand of kindness to help strangers in need that they will probably never meet.

“We wish the happy couple a wonderful and blessed marriage”