Ottery shoppers show ‘amazing generosity’ to support Exmouth charity’s Christmas hamper drive

PUBLISHED: 13:28 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:28 29 November 2018

The launch of Pete’s Dragons’ Operation Christmas Hamper at Sainsbury’s in Ottery St Mary saw trolley-loads of goods and hundreds of pounds donated to the cause. Pictured (l-r) are volunteers Zoe Gill and Becky Oakes. Picture: Pete's Dragons

The launch of Pete’s Dragons’ Operation Christmas Hamper at Sainsbury’s in Ottery St Mary saw trolley-loads of goods and hundreds of pounds donated to the cause. Pictured (l-r) are volunteers Zoe Gill and Becky Oakes. Picture: Pete's Dragons

Archant

A charity’s drive to send a record number of hampers to bereaved families for Christmas has received a huge boost thanks to Ottery shoppers.

Sainsbury customers donated ‘trolley-loads’ of items to Pete’s Dragons as it commenced Operation Christmas Hamper at the weekend.

The Exmouth-based charity is seeking gifts, food and festive items to send surprise packages to families across Devon and Cornwall who have lost loved ones due to suicide.

Founder Alison Jordan started the charity after her brother Pete Wicks took his own life aged 24, and says this year is to be the biggest ever, with 55 hampers set to be delivered across the two counties.

Alison said: ““They are sent for different reasons; for some people it is to let them know we are there and we care. For others, it can alleviate the financial hardship of Christmas.

We also want people to know it’s OK to celebrate Christmas – a lot of families feel uncomfortable with that, as suicide causes you some really complicated feelings and so many people feel they are not worth it.

“The recipients don’t know the hampers are coming and the phone calls and messages we receive when they start to arrive are often of real happiness and tears – happy tears.

“Suicide can be so isolating. It feels really special that all the people who donate to the hampers, to help others in their community, are sending such a strong message that they are not alone.”

Kate Bedding, project manager at Pete’s Dragons, said: “We were really touched by the amazing generosity of the people of Ottery. It will make such a difference to our families this Christmas. We thank them for their continued support.”

The charity is accepting hamper referrals until Friday (November 30).

The types of donations being sought are:

Donations being sought are:

Gifts: toiletries or smelly gift sets for males, females or children; make-up; perfume; fluffy/funny socks, hats, scarves, mittens for males, females or children; toys for all ages; games for the whole family; colouring books and pens, craft sets for all ages; jigsaw puzzles of all sizes and difficulties; pet toys for dogs and cats; handbags and tote bags.

Food: Christmas tree chocolates/ chocolate Santas and reindeers; Christmas puddings/ mince pies/ Christmas cake; pickles; jams; savoury sauces - jars or packets; tubs of sweets; savoury snacks - crisps, nuts, cheese straws/ crackers; tinned food, fun-size cereals; candy canes; wine/cider/bucks fizz; fizzy drinks/ fruit juice.

Christmas items: Crackers; tinsel; Christmas decorations or ornaments; Christmas tea towels or aprons.

To make a donation contact Pete’s Dragons on 01395 277780, or email admin@petesdragons.org.uk

To find out more about Pete’s Dragons, visit petesdragons.org.uk.

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