Food appeal brings Christmas cheer

Ilkeston library drop of point for food bank appeal. Julie Thomas, cllr Paul Smith and Jackie Swepstone.
Ilkeston library drop of point for food bank appeal. Julie Thomas, cllr Paul Smith and Jackie Swepstone.

Hundreds of tins, packets and boxes of food were dropped off at the Arena community food bank earlier this week ready to be packed up in Christmas food parcels.

The Advertiser’s Feed Our Families campaign saw an amazing response from readers and local businesses with the office flooded with donations.

Arena community manager Lisa Harrison said: “We are so grateful for all of the donations we’ve received.

“Every tin really does make a difference and the Advertiser have done a fantastic job of bringing the food bank to people’s attention.

“It’s been a brilliant campaign and I’d just like to thank everyone who donated to us.”

Dave Farnsworth, head of admin at the Arena, added: “We’ve definitely seen a massive increase in the amount of donations since the Advertiser started publicising the service.

“We were at the point where the shelves were almost empty but now we’ve got more stock than ever.

“The response has been fantastic.

“People have been so generous and it really has made such a difference to our clients.

“We just hope it will carry on.”

Businesses across the town got on board by acting as drop off points. They too were swamped with donations.

Sarah-Jane Green at the Ilkeston Citizens’ Advice Bureau said: “We had an unbelievable amount of stuff donated from service users and staff.

“Instead of secret Santa this year we all bought in food for the collection and we’ve been to and from with boxes.

“Seeing the work they do and knowing how helpful they are we’ve really enjoyed supporting the campaign and plan to carry it on.”

Nationwide Buiding Society on Bath Street also acted as a donation centre.

Customer representative, Alice Bestwick, said: “It’s been really successful and we’ve had loads of customers bringing bags full in.”

Ilkeston Library also found the campaign proved popular.

Library assistant, Joy Simmons, said: “People have been really keen to help out and do what they can.

“We’ve got four boxes full to drop off and have already had some picked up.”

The last parcels were picked up by food bank clients today.