Feed a Family: How your donations are helping those in need

It is almost like a military operation. A crack team of volunteers, led by Alan Scutt, working like beavers to fill the Christmas hampers for a record number of families.

Alan Scutt of Whitchurch food bank
Alan Scutt of Whitchurch food bank

"This year we will be helping 124 families," says Alan, chairman of Whitchurch food bank.

"That totals over 300 children plus 200-odd adults, so that is 500 people we are feeding and providing our Christmas pack to."

Christmas is a difficult time of year for many families, and the Shropshire Star is asking our generous band of readers to help food banks across the county to Feed a Family this Christmas.

We are asking readers to donate food and festive gifts at the locations outlined to ensure that people in difficult situations can still enjoy the type of Christmas that most of us take for granted.

The 124 hampers that Whitchurch food bank is distributing this year represents a big increase on 83 or so hampers it provided last year. Alan says the pandemic has led to a big increase in people needing support.

"The people we tend to help at Christmas aren't the type of people you usually expect to be coming to food banks," he says.

Volunteer Tony Livesy of Whitchurch food bank

"It is usually the 'just about managings' who find Christmas extremely difficult. We rely on schools to provide us with the data.

"We trying to get together lots of toys, they need to be new toys, which we supply to the children."

The team will be collecting donations throughout this week. Then once the packs have all been put together, the volunteers will begin the onerous task of delivering the parcels in time for Christmas.

"It's quite a big operation, we have got a lot of volunteers working at the back of Bargate Church Hall," he says.

Alan says each hamper will include a Christmas turkey, and all the items required for a traditional Christmas dinner.

Volunteers at Whitchurch food bank are putting together Christmas parcels

He says Christmas selection boxes for youngsters, and festive favourites such as pickles, chutneys, crackers, mince pies and Christmas cakes are among the items needed.

Meanwhile, Brownies from the 2nd Ellesmere Pack have collected a huge amount of items for the Oswestry and Borders Food Bank.

The pack was inspired by Brownie Poppy Roberts and her Gold award social action appeal to support the food bank.

Poppy has gained the highest Brownie award, Gold, by completing six theme challenge areas and doing a presentation to encourage members by reviewing her Brownie adventure. Caroline Ford, Brown Owl with the 2nd Ellesmere Brownies, says: “The Brownies gathered together 61 shoe boxes filled with food, Christmas treats and love.”

In the south of the county, Richard McCrohan of the Strettons food bank says there has been an excellent response over the past couple of weeks.

He reckons eight shopping trolleys have been filled with donations since the start of the month.

"The donations are really good at the moment," he says.

"The large collection bin at the Co-op, we normally empty that twice a week, but at the moment we are doing that four times a week."

What to donate

Any Christmas items need to have ‘best before’ dates beyond December.

Some food banks will not accept festive items after a certain date to ensure it can all be distributed in time for Christmas.

The food must not contain any alcohol (bear in mind for mince pies, Christmas cake, Christmas puddings and chocolates including selection boxes).

Cupboard essentials

  • Breakfast cereal (preferably non-sugared)

  • Milk (UHT or powder, preferably semi-skimmed)

  • Jam, marmalade

  • Fruit Juice (long-life)

  • Small jars of coffee

  • Hot chocolate

  • Tinned meat (ham,corned beef, Spam)

  • Tinned ready meals (chilli, meatballs, stew)

  • Tinned vegetarian ready meals (curry, ratatouille, macaroni cheese)

  • Packets of mashed potato/tinned potatoes

  • Tinned vegetables

  • Tinned fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon & sardines)

  • Pasta

  • Rice

  • Pasta sauce/cooking sauces

  • Tinned fruit (in juice preferably)

  • Tinned rice pudding/custard

  • Healthy snacks (small boxes of raisins/apricots)

  • Biscuits, crackers, crispbreads

Toiletries

  • Deodorants

  • Shampoo

  • Shower Gel

  • Soap

  • Toothbrushes

  • Toothpaste

  • Sanitary towels

Bridgnorth

7, West Castle Street, Bridgnorth, WV16 4AB. Telephone: 07960 285520. Email: contactus@bridgnorthfoodbank.co.uk. Open every Monday 10.30am to 12.30pm. Food can also be donated at the Co-op in Low Town, Bridgnorth Town Council offices, Charlie’s at the Old Mill, Barclays Bank in High Street, Sainsbury’s and churches in the town.

Church Stretton

Church Street, Church Stretton, SY6 6DQ. Telephone: 07561 693870. Open: Fridays 2.30pm to 4pm. Donations can be taken to the Co-op in Lion Meadow.

Food Share Project, Telford

Rampart Court Retail Park, Rampart Way, Telford, TF3 4AS. Telephone: 07775 505434. Email: team@foodshareproject.org.uk. Open: Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm, Sunday 10am to 2pm.

Market Drayton

The parish rooms, Church Street, Market Drayton, TF9 1AF. Telephone: 01630 654007. Open: Tuesdays and Fridays, 9am to 10.30am. Food can also be donated at Asda in Stafford Street, Co-op in Loggerheads, Morrison’s in Maer Lane, Sainsbury’s in Shrewsbury Road, and Savers Health & Beauty in Oak Court.

Newport

The Royal Navy Club, Bellmans Yard, TF10 7AJ. Open Friday morning 9.30am to 11.30am. Telephone: 01952 811655. Email: newportfoodbank@gmail.com.

Oswestry & Borders

56 Beatrice Street, Oswestry, SY11 1QW. Telephone: 01691 671940. Email: referrals@oswestryandborders.foodbank.org. Open: Mondays and Thursdays 11am to 2pm. Donations can also be taken to Sainsbury’s in Oswestry, Tesco in Ellesmere, St Oswald’s vicarage, and Stan’s Supermarket in St Martin’s. Many churches in the town also accept donations.

Shrewsbury Food Bank Plus

Barnabas Community Projects, Longden Coleham, Shrewsbury, SY3 7DN Telephone: 01743 343336 or 07421745857. Open for donations: Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, 9.30am to 12pm. Donations can also be taken to the town’s branches of Asda, Co-op, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s.

Welshpool & District

Church Rd, Welshpool, SY21 7LN. Telephone: 01938 536379. Open: 8am to 8pm, please leave donations under arches at the entrance; donations can also be taken to Tesco, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s in Welshpool, and Tesco in Newtown.

Whitchurch

Bargates Hall, Church Street, Whitchurch, SY13 1LR. Telephone: 01948 663943. Email: info@whitchurch.foodbank.org.uk. Open: Tuesdays and Fridays, 9.30am to 11.30am.

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