Beccles and Halesworth volunteers gives festive cheer to those in need

Beccles Foodbank organiser Pam Bayliss

Beccles Foodbank organiser Pam Bayliss - Credit: Nick Butcher

For some, Christmas is a time of sheer indulgence with money trickling from people's pockets like water.

But for others the festive period is filled with very real problems leaving some families struggling to put basic food on the table, let alone a flurry of presents.

In Beccles and Halesworth a small band of volunteers are doing all they can to make sure those who face these difficulties have a helping hand, not just at Christmas time, but the whole year round.

The Foodbanks in each town have been running for more than two years and provide boxes of food, toiletries and other essential items to individuals, couples and large and small families on a weekly basis.

Many who use the services have lost their jobs or are receiving benefit help while they seek further employment.


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The Rev Pam Bayliss, who organises both Foodbanks said they were particularly important at this time of year with special Christmas parcels available including a Christmas pudding, chocolate biscuits, boxes of chocolates and small toys.

She said: 'Why shouldn't they have a Christmas the same as everyone else. We are able to tailor the boxes to the individual, we even find some people go without to give their pets food.

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'We don't judge anybody, you can never tell who needs something. Some people have lost their jobs and when they come to us it really is a last resort. It takes alot of courage to come in and often people are quite distressed.

'We are part of the East Suffolk Foodbank that comes from Lowestoft to us and to Halesworth and we have volunteers who come in and man each Foodbank. We also have a delivery service available for people who can't get in to see us.'

A store of boxes are kept at both St Luke's Church in Beccles and St Mary's Church in Halesworth, which include items for people who are gluten free or diabetic. They also keep extra supplies of dog and cat food, baby food, toiletries such as toothpaste and tin openers.

Each box comes with its own recipe list with ideas of how to use the contents in each box.

Mrs Bayliss said more than 100 people access the service in Beccles and one week they gave out more than 20 boxes.

She said: 'In Halesworth we have 10 volunteers and three delivery teams and in Beccles there are 20 volunteers and two delivery teams. It is so important all through the year but especially at Christmas. We are open Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, it's not going to really close. Most people are just grateful for something, especially for their children.

'We had a collection at a supermarket in Beccles and Saxmundham and we were given 267 boxes from the Beccles store. I'm very proud of all the volunteers who give their time so freely and members of the public are so generous.'

• Foodbank vouchers are available to collect from various organisations such as social services, children's services or from the churches involved.

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