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Staff at Suffield Park Infants School have been collecting for the Cromer and District Foodbank fesetive appeal. Left to right, teaching assistants Chris Garwood, Ann Norman, Louise Youngman and Margaret Bullock PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Two hundred people are having a Christmas to remember thanks to the generosity of people in north Norfolk.
Donations to the local Foodbank’s festive appeal - backed by the North Norfolk News - has put meals and treats on what could have been empty plates.
Volunteers organising the scheme have sent a big thank you to everyone who has given items to the appeal.
And they have spoken of how people benefiting from the donations have been reduced to tears of joy and relief.
Over the past few weeks a mountain of donated food items has been distributed through the scheme’s Cromer warehouse as well as its other centres at Sheringham and North Walsham.
Some families collecting food parcels are in a constant battle to make ends meet. Others are struggling to put food on the table in a temporary crisis. People entitled to parcels, which have three days supply of food, are given vouchers by care organisations. More than 50 of the almost 200 people helped are children. Some families facing fuel poverty face paying for either heating or food.
Foodbank chairman Tina Nicholas told donors: “We send a huge ‘thank you’ on behalf of the people helped. We could not have done it without you.
“Virtually every ward in north Norfolk has had a voucher which shows the spread of the problem.
“We had one woman at North Walsham waiting on the doorstep for us to open. It is standard practice to have some tissues available because there are tears.
Project manager Kevin Willimott added: “One guy who got a parcel said he was looking at having baked beans on Christmas day.
“People have been really generous - not just buying basic goods to salve their consciences, but getting luxury items like special nuts, chocolate biscuits, Twiglets and cheese footballs that will be real treats.”
“Hungry people will eat anything but for people to get something better is incredible, especially as everybody is struggling out there.”
Donations have included £100 worth of meat and fish bought by the North Norfolk Vintage Car Club from proceeds of a raffle at their Christmas meal.
One pensioner donated her winter fuel allowance to buy £200 worth of sweets and crisps.
North Walsham hospital staff did a collection instead of sending Christmas cards
Staff at Suffield Park Infants school collected boxes of food, helped by donations from parents visiting Christmas productions.
The Foodbank, which started this autumn, however is geared to dealing with people’s problems all year round, and not just at Christmas.
Some organisations, from churches to companies, are already gearing up to provide ongoing food donations. Extra distribution centres are due to open at Aylsham in January and Holt in March.
Anyone with voucher or collection problems can call the Foodbank hotline on 07826 376343.