MORE than 400 extra parcels of provisions were handed out by New Forest Basics Bank in the run-up to Christmas.
Volunteers at the Lymington-based charity were busier than ever during 2019 with a rise in demand being blamed on low-paid jobs, the gig economy, irregularities with Universal Credit claims and complicated family breakdowns.
Agencies across the region also identify those in need, who may not ordinarily be in receipt of a food parcel referral, but who would benefit from a special Christmas parcel.
A few luxury products are selected, including chocolates and cakes, tinned salmon and cheese which can help improve the festive period for those whose budgets do not stretch beyond the essentials.
The effort to pack up and distribute the 400 parcels is a major operation so all available volunteers were on hand to ensure they were despatched for delivery on time.
Among those rolling up their sleeves was Lymington mayor Cllr Anne Corbridge.
A spokesperson said: “This is an excellent example of how the community and charities can pull together and recognise that many are less fortunate, and with the right effort they can all work together to help allow others enjoy a better Christmas.
“When money is tight the festive period for some can be challenging, so to give this extra help can make a big difference to the recipient and their family.
“This operation will be eased next year when we hope to be rehoused in the new, larger premises.
“This will make a big difference to how the charity can work and will save a lot of manpower in moving items from the current container storage unit to the cabin, all of which is very time heavy, and physically demanding for the volunteers.”