Generous staff from an East Midlands housing association have donated more than 150kg of food and £500 in cash to food banks in Derbyshire and Daventry for Christmas.
Staff from Futures Housing Group, which manages around 9,800 homes across the region, have been running their “reverse advent calendar” throughout November and December to give to food banks in South Normanton and Daventry.
The business has also given £250 cash to each food bank to help support people in food crisis this Christmas.
Rob Gee, who is the senior pastor at the Vineyard Community Church, Daventry, volunteers at the food bank and says that the number of people needing help is on the rise: “In the first year (2010), we saw about 100 cases. This year we’ve already exceeded 750 and we’ve just seen around another 40 referrals, so we could be looking at around the 800 mark this year.
“Crisis is something that can hit anybody for any reason, it could be illness, it could be that they’ve just lost their job.
“It’s a really heart-warming thing to be able to connect with other people who want to help.”
Christine Webb, who volunteers at the South Normanton food bank said: “It’s an amazing amount, thank you so much to everyone at Futures who has donated items to us. It’s fabulous.
“People come to us because they’re in crisis. The amount we give them is supposed to last them three days, but these days the crisis lasts longer than three days.
“We get single mums escaping domestic violence and in temporary accommodation, people on low incomes who can get into debt. We’ve had people living in tents and someone who was living in a car. You get people who are so embarrassed to come but I always say they shouldn’t feel embarrassed, we don’t judge anybody.”
Staff brought in items such as tinned food, cereal and UHT milk as well as other essentials such as deodorants, shower gel and toothpaste.
Suki Jandu, Group Director,Customer Experience and Assets, said: “More and more people are using food banks, with many unable to make ends meet. We’re delighted to be able to help them so that they can support more people during the Christmas period.
“The amount we have collected demonstrates not only the fantastic generosity of our team here, but also their commitment to helping the communities we serve.”