A FEAST of biscuits, pringle and Yuletide logs willfeature heavily as extra special gifts for many families over the festive period.
And while this is a luxury for the Christmas season, there are some hard working volunteers who are ensuring that even the poorest of families don’t miss out.
A dedicated team of 10 who work at The Food Bank based at the Daventry’s Vineyard Community Church in Warwick Street, have helped to put together some extra special Christmas hampers. The team have been helped by several other organisations including Daventry and District Housing, Waitrose and industrious pupils at The Parker E-ACT Academy.
The manager of the Food Bank, Linda Gee, said: “We have tried to give the people who need help some extra special food, the sort of things that you would normally get at Christmas.
“There will be mince pies, pickled onions, biscuits and crisps, those sort of treats.
“There will be around 50 hampers going out in the town and they have all been made possible by people’s generosity.
“We just want to ensure that people out there can have the best possible Christmas.
This is an ethos which has been very much adopted by the church’s senior pastor Rob Gee, who talks about the value of looking after others.
He said: “We are encouraging people in the church to really look out for their neighbours.
“We are asking people if they are they truly giving and helping people in need.”
But the Food Bank is not just for helping over Christmas but is designed to keep supplying food hampers throughout the year.
These include tinned fruit and vegetables, jars of sauce tinned meat and other food items which lave a long sell-by-date.
Linda explains: “It was started in 2010 and was originally based out of Rob’s house.
“Now we are in this building in Warwick Street (the former Danetre Garage site) and it is an enormous place. It has meant we can store much more food and help a lot more people.”
And this extra capacity to help comes at the right time - figures reveal the number of people needing help has increased dramatically.
In 2010 there were 100 people helped compared with 250 people last year.
This year The Food Bank organisers say they are on target to have helped more than 600 people.
Linda said: “We make up between three and five hampers every single day.
“People will normally come to us via the various agencies, either through housing associations, health visitors, Women’s Refuge, Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Time2Talk.
“All sorts of people seek our help, including some who have been made redundant and who cannot afford food to feed their families.”
She is convinced it makes a big difference to the people they help out.
Linda added: “Some people find it very difficult to come and ask others for help when they are in need. We have to be really sensitive to it.
“But it’s rewarding when you have been able to help people and see the difference it makes to their lives, they are really thankful for the support.
“It was one of the main reasons that we wanted to set up The Food Bank. I have looked after children and know how tough it can be. With the current economic climate, it must be even harder if you know the money is short so we wanted to help people.”
Some of the people helped by The Food Bank have now gone on to work there as volunteers because they wanted to give something back to the organisation which had helped them in their time of need.
One of those people Jack Campbell, who lives in the town, said: “I found out about The Food Bank from a friend of mine who had received help from them.
“I came home one day and all there was in the cupboard was a loaf of bread and five kilogrammes of potatoes and I had a family to feed with two young children.
“The people were sympathetic to my situation and I was able to get some Fray Bentos pies, tins of fruit and vegetables.
“It made a huge difference having that food parcel and knowing that I could feed my family.”
For further information about the Vineyard Community Church call 01327 876630 or visit www.vineyardcommunity.org.uk.
To learn more out about the The Food Bank or find out how to donate goods, call Linda on 07576 663968 or www.vineyardcommunity.org.uk/foodbank.htm