Stratford Foodbank is appealing for seasonal donations as it prepares to create more than 300 community Christmas hampers over the festive period.
The charity typically encounters a peak in demand during December and in addition to its usual food parcels, it runs a Christmas hamper scheme, designed to benefit those who may be going through difficult times.
However to get the hampers made and sent out before Christmas, seasonal items must all be given to the foodbank by Wednesday 4th December.
Foodbank manager Marion Homer said: “The run-up to Christmas is an extremely busy time of year for our charity. In the space of a few months we witness amazing generosity, as the Foodbank is remembered at many Harvest Festivals and at Christmas. In fact, it’s very likely that we will receive more than 60% of all food donations in the last three months of the year – which does pose us some interesting logistical challenges – but we have an amazing team of volunteers, who will somehow store everything safely away for use later in the year. We are so grateful to everyone who remembers us, we simply couldn’t operate without food donations, and we are also indebted to SITEL who allow us to set aside our long-dated items in their warehouse.
“This December we will once again be undertaking our community hamper project. This project is only possible through the many volunteers and donors who contribute time and food to make it happen.
“In the autumn we seek nominations from our referral agency partners for individuals and/or families they’d like to receive a Foodbank Christmas Hamper. Unlike our usual food parcels, our Christmas hampers don’t necessarily go to someone who’s in financial hardship.
“Instead, we ask our partners to suggest individuals and families for whom Christmas will be difficult and for whom a gift of a foodbank hamper might make a difference. Our hampers are full of the usual foodbank items – e.g. packets, tins etc (nothing fresh) and gift items that we receive during the year, and we tailor our hampers according to family numbers and age range.
“This year the project has become so big we have had to take it off site. During the weekend of the 7th/8th December, and with grateful thanks to the generosity of Stratford Town Trust, we will take over the ground floor of Foundation House to collate our hampers. It’s going to be a very busy weekend and involves a rota of over 60 volunteer names who will be undertaking a variety of tasks to ensure three hundred hampers are ready for our referral agency partners to collect on Monday 9th December.”
The Foodbank will be holding a food drive at Tesco on the Birmingham Road in Stratford from Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd November where volunteers will be handing out lists of items that will be useful for the hamper project, and also for their usual foodbank distributions in the New Year
For more information on Christmas at the Foodbank, visit www.stratforduponavon.foodbank.org.uk/