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Festive cheer for 600 families thanks to New Forest Basics Bank

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A HOST of festive parcels containing Christmas goodies will be given to 600 struggling families thanks to the New Forest Basics Bank.

The Lymington charity has been busy collecting items which will go out to households in the district who have been nominated to receive a parcel.

Over 23 organisations including housing agencies, church groups and schools have suggested people to the organisation who may need a little extra cheer at Christmas.

Volunteer Sue Winnington and New Forest Basics Bank chair Oliver Stanley
Volunteer Sue Winnington and New Forest Basics Bank chair Oliver Stanley

Sponsors of the parcels include SeaTalk, Greenclose Hotel Group and Waitrose in Lymington as well as two generous local individuals.

The group has already collected over 130 reverse advent calendars which are filled with items such as Christmas puddings, crackers and mince pies which were donated by schools, businesses, and members of the public.

These will be delivered alongside food bank clients’ weekly food parcel. Pennyfarthing Homes is also assisting by providing two members of staff and a van each day to help the charity.

Food bank chair Oliver Stanley said: “We fundraise specifically for the Christmas parcels over and above the day-to-day running costs to ensure we have the resources to deliver this added extra.

“It’s not really about the food, it’s about bringing people and families together at Christmas.

“There are so many reasons that people can end up at crisis point, many of which are beyond their control, and our amazing team of volunteers and donors are here to help and make day to day life that bit easier.”

Sue Winnington, who helped coordinate the festive distribution, added: “The Christmas parcels alone are a huge operation to coordinate.

“It takes a team of volunteers to shop for the items and an even bigger team to deliver them.

“It’s so important though. Everybody deserves a Christmas and if we didn’t do this, the families and individuals we support wouldn’t have one – it’s as simple as that.”

The food bank normally offers three services for families across the Forest including a weekly food parcel and a three-week fareshare larder which takes place in Ashley, Pennington and Bransgore.

Operated on a membership scheme, the larders help people make their money go further by reducing shopping bills.

Thirdly, the food rescue kitchen collects produce from local supermarkets which would otherwise go to waste which is then given to those in need.

To apply for help from the New Forest Basics Bank ring 01590 610008.

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