Banbury foodbanks are gearing up for their busiest Christmas yet
The Trussell Trust, the Salvation Army and the BYHP young homelessness project are all appealing for non-perishable food to help ensure families and individuals do not go hungry over the festive season - but they are also asking for some seasonal treats.
Companies in Banbury and schools have been supporting the work of BYHP, providing foodstuffs, toiletries and - at this time of year - gifts such as sweets, snacks, hats, gloves and socks.
The Salvation Army is handing out food parcels and also plans to lay on a full Christmas lunch for a large group of the homeless and people living in limited space.
All three organisations have reported increasing uptake of donated food to allow recipients to survive.
Banbury Folk Club has been gathering a large donation of provisions for the Banbury Food Bank, run by the People's Church on behalf of the Trussell Trust.
Club chairman Kevin West said: “It is unbelievable that there are people in our community that require the help of a food bank at any time, let alone at Christmas.
"Our club members and visitors are very lucky to be able to feed ourselves and keep our homes warm. We were discussing plans for our Christmas party night when the idea of helping others less fortunate than ourselves came to mind. We were then very surprised to find out the food bank was almost next door. We were surprised again by the list of items the food bank required.
"Alongside the expected tinned meat, fish and fruit, pasta and ling-life milk were things we had not thought of, such as toilet rolls, toiletries and ladies sanitary products. So far we have four large bags ready to pass on to the food bank, with more to come in the next couple of weeks up to our Christmas party on December 18. Donations are required all year round and can be left in the collecting bin at Tesco’s, Lockhead Close."
Linda Slide of BYHP said: "We run a foodbank for 13 - 25-year-olds with various needs, all year round.
"We try to support a healthy diet for the young people and we have two drop-offs a week from the Banbury organisation Food for Charities which collects surplus food, including fresh fruit and veg, from supermarkets and distributes it.
"We don't run a ticket scheme and we don't limit the donations we give out while our users find their feet. Some of the firms and schools who support us have been giving Christmassy things like selection boxes and chocolates.
"The Banbury company Tibbetts are doing special boxes for us to give out as an extra over Christmas."
Salvation Army officer Malcolm Anderson said the organisation provides food parcels on an ongoing basis. He said they would welcome donations of tinned meat or meals, tinned vegetables, long-life milk, tea bags, coffee, sugar and tubs of spread for the bread they source elsewhere. Gift items would also be gratefully accepted so the Army can give out small Christmas gifts. Items can be dropped in between 10.30 - noon, Tuesday - Friday.
More details of the Banbury Food Bank can be found at banbury.foodbank.org.uk and BYHP can be found at 2, Chandos Close, Banbury. Its opening hours are Mon to Thu - 9am - 5pm and on Friday from 9.30am - 4:30pm.