College spreads festive joy as demand 'increasing all the time' at foodbanks

Sam Porter, Operations Manager for Lowestoft Foodbank, with the donations received from the college

Sam Porter, Operations Manager for Lowestoft Foodbank, with the donations received from the college. Photo: East Coast College - Credit: East Coast College

More than 600 items have been distributed to the Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth foodbanks this week as staff and students at East Coast College rallied round to support families in need this Christmas.

The coastal college has been supporting the FE Foodbank Friday initiative along with other colleges across the country since the first national lockdown, donating more than £2,000 to the foodbanks in October.

Since then, East Coast College and Lowestoft Sixth Form College have been collecting items of non-perishable food and drink through the Festive FE Foodbank Friday scheme.

These items were then split between both local foodbanks and dropped off in time to benefit families in need of extra support over the festive period.

Volunteers from the Great Yarmouth Foodbank with the donations of food from East Coast College.

Volunteers from the Great Yarmouth Foodbank with the donations of food from East Coast College. Photo: East Coast College - Credit: East Coast College

Liz Townson, distribution centre manager for the Great Yarmouth Foodbank which has three distribution centres in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth, said: “We are still very busy and demand is increasing all the time.

“The community has been marvellous in supporting us and we want to say a big thank you to all the students and staff who have donated items.

"It’s lovely that they are thinking about other families in need during this time.”

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Sam Porter, operations manager for Lowestoft Foodbank, said: “We are feeding about 850 people a month at the moment.

Sam Porter, Operations Manager for Lowestoft Foodbank, with the donations received from the college

Sam Porter, Operations Manager for Lowestoft Foodbank, with the donations received from the college. Photo: East Coast College - Credit: East Coast College

"Winter is always busier but we are still up about 30 per cent from last year.

“This donation is brilliant because it means that we don’t have to scrape the barrel to feed people and we can give them more than they need which is a really nice feeling.”

As well as the food donations, staff at Lowestoft Sixth Form College also raised £350 which will be donated to the Lowestoft Foodbank to provide a further festive boost.

This week East Coast College staff have been completing a ‘Santa Dash’ as part of the same campaign, dressing up in festive outfits to complete a run, walk, cycle or any other dash of their choice in return for donations to a national JustGiving page.

East Coast College chief executive and principal Stuart Rimmer complete with Santa outfit on Gorlest

East Coast College chief executive and principal Stuart Rimmer complete with Santa outfit on Gorleston beach after he completed a 10km Santa Dash for the foodbanks. Picture: James Bass Photography - Credit: JAMES BASS PHOTOGRAPHY

Principal Stuart Rimmer, who completed his own 10km dash dressed as Santa, said: “We are pleased to be able to support our communities during these challenging times and I am proud of all our staff and students for making a real difference this Christmas.”

To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/FestiveFEFoodbankFriday

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