Donations needed for festive food bank appeal

Organisers of the Sid Valley Food Bank are appealing for festive donations in the run up to Christmas to help bring some seasonal cheer to those less fortunate.

The service is hoping Sidmouth residents will dig deep in the coming weeks to help stock the shelves with items to fill festive hampers – and to prepare for an expected spike in demand in the new year.

Organisers have also announced plans to be more proactive in the food bank’s work, actively looking for people to help this winter rather than waiting for prospective clients to come to them.

Last week the service helped 14 families, handing out enough food to last them a week.

Food bank manager, Lois Swarbrick, said: “We are concerned that there are people out there who need help but haven’t come forward.

“In the past, people have had to be referred to us through an agency but we are a bit worried that we might miss some people.

“And we’d like people to know that just because someone has used the food bank in the past it doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to access the service again.”

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Lois said that prospective clients are now welcome to contact the service on 07413 858335 to discuss if the food bank can help them.

She added: “Stocks are okay at the moment, but in January we are always likely to get more people through the door and we need to make sure that we have enough to support them.

“We seem to get a spike in October, as people are forced to pay their first heating bills after summer, and then again in the new year after Christmas.”

The food bank is also seeking a treasurer to help with the operation of the service.

• The Sid Valley Food Bank runs from the Leigh Browne room of the Unitarian Chapel, in All Saints Road, on Mondays from 10.30am to 11.30am and on Fridays from 12.30pm to 3pm.

• Christmas donations could include mince pies, cake, biscuits, sweets, and crackers, as well as small gifts suitable for children and adults.