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Mid-Norfolk shows Christmas spirit as more than five tonnes of food is donated to foodbank

PUBLISHED: 13:28 21 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:31 21 December 2017

Mid Norfolk Foodbank manager Dave Pearson. Picture: Ian Burt

Mid Norfolk Foodbank manager Dave Pearson. Picture: Ian Burt

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A foodbank that operates across mid-Norfolk has received over five tonnes of food since September thanks to the generosity of people in the community.

Project Manager Dave Pearson with team of volunteers. Picture: Mid-Norfolk foodbankProject Manager Dave Pearson with team of volunteers. Picture: Mid-Norfolk foodbank

The food went toward feeding more than 130 people in the first two weeks of December, of which half were children.

Project Manager Dave Pearson said he had been “amazed” by the response.

“The build up to Christmas is always a busy time for us both in donations coming in and parcels going out,” he said.

“Without the generosity of local people we would not be able to help in this way and our volunteers work really hard to keep things turning over.

Project Manager Dave Pearson with team of volunteers. Picture: Mid-Norfolk foodbankProject Manager Dave Pearson with team of volunteers. Picture: Mid-Norfolk foodbank

“A foodbank is an excellent example of communities helping their own.”

The foodbank, which is operated by the Trussell Trust, received 3.8 tonnes of food from nearly 60 harvest collections.

An additional 2.3 tonnes was donated by customers of the Tesco stores in Dereham and Fakenham.

It also received many donations made on a weekly basis and they have contributed toward over 80 Christmas hampers for distribution and allowed the foodbank to support the Salvation Army with their own Christmas boxes.

Mr Pearson said: “From companies like Flagship Homes to Neatherd High School where each tutor group made up a specially decorated box, to groups foregoing ‘secret Santa’ and making donations instead, to individuals doing reverse advent calendar collections and the many individuals who have given up buying presents in favour of donating to foodbank - a big thank you to everyone.

Despite the positive news there are fears that the number of users may increase in 2018 due to the roll out of the government’s controversial benefits system known as Universal Credit.

Research by the charity Citizens Advice showed that of the Universal Credit claimants they helped, over a third had to wait more than six weeks for their first payment and more than half are borrowing money to cope.

“Please don’t stop giving. This can be done at any of the three foodbank centres at Dereham, Swaffham and Fakenham. The opening times can be found on the Mid-Norfolk Foodbank website. Alternatively, Green Pastures Bookshop in Dereham will be happy to receive donations.”

Norfolk and Suffolk thanks for major contribution towards Co-op appeal

People from across Norfolk and Suffolk have made a significant contribution to the Co-op’s Christmas foodbank appeal.

Central England Co-operative customers from Norfolk and Suffolk donated 10pc of the 60,000 items donated nationwide during the five week campaign and it will all go towards providing emergency food and support to people in crisis this Christmas.

Martyn Cheatle, Central England Co-operative chief executive, said: “In just five weeks, we helped collect over 60,000 items, provide 16,000 meals to those in crisis and make a real difference in our communities.

“Following the success of the Christmas Foodbank Appeal, we want to appeal to our customers and members to continue to support our foodbanks throughout 2018 to help provide meals for people in need across the area all year round.

More details the appeal can be found on the Co-op website.

MORE: Fall in UK living standards is changing food bank habits

MORE: Spike in foodbank demand across Norfolk and Suffolk expected this Christmas

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