Volunteers have started packing hundreds of food parcels ready to give desperate people in South Holland a Christmas they will never forget.
The Lighthouse Church in Spalding, headquarters of Agape Care Foodbank, has been transformed into a food mountain with boxes of mince pies, Christmas puddings and even children’s story books to be delivered to families this weekend.
Readers have responded overwhelmingly to the challenge of helping those hit hardest by redundancy, homelessness, financial crisis and other emergencies by donating food and toys to this year’s Christmas Appeal.
Now the Spalding Guardian can reveal the sheer scale of the help given to people in South Holland as the Foodbank has provided 180 parcels to people in need so far this year, compared to just 65 in 2011.
Our joint Christmas Appeal alone has helped more than 150 people so far this month, compared to just over 100 for the whole of December 2011.
People are given Foodbank vouchers by one of 40 referral agencies in the area, including South Holland Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).
Strategic manager John Willoughby said: “In the last 12 months, 35 per cent of our enquiries have usually related to problems with receipt of benefits, redundancy and dismissal.
“The Foodbank has been invaluable to these people and I would encourage anyone to help those whose are less fortunate in the community.”
Foodbank coordinator Irene Davies said: “We’ve been surprised by the response from people and we’re really pleased with the donations we’ve had.” Chas Sandhu, pastor of The Lighthouse Church, said: “I’ve been very, very impressed and thrilled with the response from the local community in helping those who are in crisis and need. “It’s been brilliant to see people responding so overwhelmingly and both the church and the Agape Care Foodbank team are very grateful for the help from the South Holland community.”