Donations have been flooding in for the Gazette’s fifth annual Give A Gift appeal.
Generous donations have donated trolley-loads of treats to Northern Devon Foodbank to give struggling families in North Devon a little relief this Christmas.
Every person referred to the foodbank this month is receiving a hamper of Christmas food, with treats such as mince pies, chocolates and crackers, to help ease the burden.
Readers have been bringing their donations into the Gazette offices, as well as dropping them at foodbanks in Barnstaple, Bideford and Ilfracombe.
Duncan Withall, co-ordinator for Northern Devon Foodbank, said all the charity’s Christmas appeals had been going well.
“The response has been very good so far,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of stuff coming in which is keeping our warehouse team busy as they sort it all out.
“There have been lots of Christmas treats, so that will keep us going for a bit.”
People have until Friday, December 14, to donate festive treats in order for the foodbanks to give them out in time for Christmas.
But the charity is always in need of essential items for its emergency food parcels.
“We’re always short on long-life fruit juice, as we put it in every parcel,” said Duncan.
“We go through about 100 litres a week and I’m always having to go out and buy more.”
Margaret has been volunteering at the Barnstaple foodbank for nearly six years.
She said: “We’ve had several people walk in with donations after reading about the appeal.
“I couldn’t say without looking at the figures, but it certainly feels busier than last year.
“There are a lot more families – a lot of large families too.
“They’re getting their normal food and then a big Christmas hamper alongside it, it’s been lovely to be able to do it, some people have been in tears.”
As well as the Gazette appeal, Tesco stores in North Devon have just finished a huge food drive for the foodbank.
The exact amount of donations from appeals is still being totted up.
Across Devon, The Trussell Trust, the charity behind the Foodbank, said there had been a 13 per cent increase in food parcels handed out last year.
Any treats such as mince pies, tinned ham, Christmas pudding, chocolates, nibbles and more, can be donated at the Gazette offices in Barnstaple, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.
Alteratively, take them directly to the Foodbank: Barnstaple, at St John’s Community Centre, and Bideford, in Pitt Lane, are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10.30am-1.30pm; Ilfracombe, at Salvation Army Community Hall, is open Tuesday and Thursday, 10.30am-1.30pm.