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Lymington cafe staff create a stir with hampers for needy

Coffee & Drift staff Hettie, Paitin, Grace and Bella
Coffee & Drift staff Hettie, Paitin, Grace and Bella

A TEAM of cafe workers from Lymington inspired by footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford have spent their Saturdays organising nearly 100 Christmas hampers for families in need.

Despite closing during the latest lockdown, staff at Coffee & Drift on Lymington Quay decided to work voluntarily selling takeaway drinks and snacks so they could raise cash to create 90 packages for needy families.

Owner Grace Murphy explained how the roots of the festive operation went back to their similar efforts in October.

She said: “When Marcus Rashford was on the news campaigning for free school meals to be extended over half term, my mum Caroline, who does lots of our cooking behind the scenes, said she just felt like there was something we could do to help.”

Through a family friend, Caroline and Grace arranged to make lunchtime meals for 17 families a day during the October half term week.

After sharing news of the initiative with customers and over social media, the Coffee & Drift team were approached with offers of cash toward the cost of ingredients.

Grace said: “In the end we received around £200 which was more than enough to cover the cost of ingredients, so we started thinking about how we could use the rest of the money to help people at Christmas.”

Grace initially planned just to raise some extra money so she could create 17 bespoke hampers for the families they had support during half term.

But when the second lockdown was announced in early November, Grace and Caroline began scaling up their plans.

Grace said: “We closed the shop and furloughed our staff, but then we had an idea that if we could open on Saturdays and the staff agreed work voluntarily, any money we made could be used towards the hampers.”

As news of their idea spread other local business got in touch to see how they could help out, and customers began queuing along the quay to support the initiative.

Grace said: “I was totally blown away by everyone’s generosity. Our customers were amazing and so many businesses gave their support either by donating items or money towards the hampers or by supplying us at cost price.”

Grace made contact with Pennington infant and junior schools, Pennington Preschool and Eaglewood School in New Milton to see if there were more families who would benefit.

She also received around 15 referrals via a post on Facebook, bring the total number of hampers to 90.

All hampers have been tailored to the recipients and as well as basic food items and festive treats, they have been filled with board games, gift vouchers, Christmas merchandise and sweets. Adult hampers have also been stocked with some festive tipple.

Coffee & Drift has now reopened to customers and Grace has 65 hampers packed and ready to go. She will put together the final 25 gift boxes in the next few days before they are delivered to recipients on 17th December.

Grace said: “It has been a really incredible experience to do something like this – the support of the community and everyone who has help toward it has been really touching.”

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