Shropshire Star

Generosity hailed as Bishop's Castle food bank set for a busy Christmas

Christmas has come early for foodbank volunteers in Bishop's Castle as they prepare for a busy festive season.

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Volunteers from Bishop's Castle Community Foodbank, from left, co-odinator Andy Stelman, (front) Mandy Bryce, Roy Jensen, and Janet Krengel, at Bishop's Castle Methodist Church

With donations coming from all over the county, and even as far as Walsall, Bishop's Castle food bank, which was only set up in April this year, is looking positively at the Christmas season ahead.

Andy Stelman, a volunteer at the foodbank in south Shropshire, said that people's generosity has blown him away as they prepare for Christmas food hampers with help from local businesses.

"We are planning several things for Christmas this year," Mr Stelman said. "We are running a fresh meat scheme for this year, where customers who want to cook their own Christmas lunch at home, can get a voucher from our local butcher.

"We have an arrangement with A J Pugh butchers in town where customers can get a voucher for a Christmas meal they can cook themselves. So we are giving these to 14 families. Then for those who aren't cooking Christmas dinner, we have an arrangement with The Castle Hotel in town who have volunteered to make pre-cooked meals which we will then distribute on Christmas Day."

The foodbank is also continuing to help children and young people eligible for free school meals like they did in half-term, over the Christmas period.

Andy said: "We are hoping to come to an arrangement with the three food outlets we used before, The Happy Bap, Kirsty’s Cafe and Bishop’s Castle Delight Fish and Chip Shop.

"In terms of our regular customer base, we are feeding 45 people per session, which is twice a week.

"Jo Gadsbey, one of our volunteers, spoke to her sister, Sara Simpson who lives in Walsall. Sara said she would get together presents for our customers, and now we have so many, it's like Harrodd's up there. It is wonderful.

"Its phenomenal. I can't get over people's generosity. It's beyond our wildest dreams."

The foodbank's opening hours are Wednesdays 5pm to 6.30pm and Fridays 1.30pm to 3.30pm at the Methodist Hall, Station St, Bishop's Castle. Call Andy on 07773 006413 to donate or if you need help.