Festive boost for 65 households from Sid Valley Food Bank
PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 December 2017
Mountains of mince pies, puddings, sweets and crackers went into hampers that will brighten up Christmas for 65 households in and around Sidmouth.
As well as festive nibbles and gifts, businesses and individuals donated £2,000 to the Sid Valley Food Bank so its clients can buy fresh meat and vegetables for the big day.
Manager Lois Swarbrick thanked everyone who gave something and all the volunteers who helped package and make the deliveries on Monday.
“It’s just lovely – it’s what Christmas is all about,” she said.
“The deliveries went brilliantly, considering how much stuff we had. Everyone wants to give something at Christmas.
“We get food and gifts and this year had over £2,000 donated. That’s what allowed us to do so many hampers. We had donations from the Radway [cinema] and Waitrose, and Small Change have given us more than £400. We’ve had a lot of anonymous donations – cheques for £200, £50, £25, and cash. We used some of it to buy cuddly toys for the 14 babies. The clients also get vouchers for Hayman’s Butchers and Winchesters for fresh meat and veg.”
Hampers went to current and former food bank clients, and referrals from health professionals and the schools’ parent support advisor.
Most recipients do not know they are coming – it is a nice surprise but also difficult to plan in advance before Lois and her volunteers know how much will be donated.
As it was, they were inundated.
“The first things came in in November,” said Lois. “We put them in the wardrobe and two weeks ago it was so full we couldn’t get any more in. “It’s gone from strength to strength. Compared to the first year, 2013, we probably had four times as much donated.
“Volunteers say the deliveries are the best part, and seeing the families’ faces. The children get so excited. The families just say how grateful they are.”
Lois is stepping down from her role today (Friday) and is not certain the hampers will happen next year. She thanked everyone involved in writing the cards and vouchers, and the volunteers - including staff from Tesco and Waitrose - who helped make up and deliver the hampers.
The food bank will be closed next Friday (December 29) and reopen on Friday, January 5.