Thank you: Amazing support for foodbank Christmas appeal

Mayor of Bideford Peter Christie presents a cheque in the Pannier Market to Duncan Withall, chairman of Northern Devon Foodbank 

Mayor of Bideford Peter Christie presents a cheque in the Pannier Market to Duncan Withall, chairman of Northern Devon Foodbank - Credit: Graham Hobbs

An amazing community response to the Northern Devon Foodbank Christmas appeal has ensured more local families than ever were able to enjoy a little festive cheer as 2020 came to an end. 

The foodbank has reported a record Christmas after supplying the equivalent of nearly 38,000 meals to families in North Devon and Torridge, a 60 per cent increase on the previous year. Those families included 725 local children who received food and presents. 

After a difficult year with the Covid-19 pandemic and many losing jobs or income, many families were facing a miserable Christmas without festive food or toys for their children. 

But North Devon stepped up - more local businesses, large and small, than ever before added their weight to the amazing public support; making sure the foodbank had enough resources to be extra generous in these troubled times. 

The annual Northern Devon Christmas Fund appeal, supported by the North Devon Gazette, had to go online due to the pandemic, but still saw donations flooding in. 

It enabled the foodbank to provide £12,500 in financial support to 269 other local families in long term need. 

Chairman Duncan Withall said: “This year more than ever, the Northern Devon Christmas Fund was a lifeline for many local families struggling to make ends meet.  

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“Qualifying families were given supermarket vouchers, so that they could buy what they needed to celebrate Christmas.  

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to our community for their incredibly generous and timely support. The response exceeded all our expectations.” 

The Park Community School in Barnstaple, which usually donates several trolleys of food, this year ran its appeal online too, raising £869.48. 

Teacher and charity co-ordinator Julia O’Callaghan said it had been a fantastic response from parents and students. She said: “But that’s what the school tries to do every year with its charitable efforts, we try and help local charities, giving something back for what they give to us.” 
Bideford Town Council meanwhile donated the £250 funding for its annual Signing of the Lease ceremony in the Pannier Market – usually used to provide free mince pies and a 'secret' drink to traders and customers – to the foodbank. 

So far 2021 also looks set to be a challenging year for Northern Devon Foodbank, which covers one of the largest foodbank areas in Britain, some 850 square miles via six distribution centres. 

If you would like to donate to Northern Devon Foodbank, or need support, visit https://northerndevon.foodbank.org.uk/  

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