Food drive at Aldi saw 1,214 items donated

David Farnsworth and Lisa Harrison with food bank donations at Ilkeston Library.
David Farnsworth and Lisa Harrison with food bank donations at Ilkeston Library.

With Christmas fast approaching many families in Ilkeston will be relying on food banks to enjoy treats.

Our Feed Our Families campaign, launched last month, asked people to dig deep and donate items to local food banks in the town.

Since then a number of food drives at supermarkets have been a massive success, and donations of food have increased.

Lisa Harrison, who runs the food bank at the Arena Church, said: “We did food drives at Aldi, Tesco and Co -op. We are increasing in people who use the food bank and it was getting a bit like our budget couldn’t stretch.

“There is also more of the working community accessing it.”

A two-day food drive at Aldi saw 1,214 items, worth £382.60 donated by shoppers who were handed a list of items as they entered the store and could choose what to buy for the food bank.

“They are proving extremely successful and are making a massive difference’ said Lisa, ‘A lot of people didn’t realise that we are not part of Fair Share so items donated through that scheme don’t come to Ilkeston.”

Lisa has been running the food bank for four years. When it first started there were barely enough items to fill a small shopping basket.

She said: “People are so much more aware of it now. Our budget is £500 a month so this makes a massive difference.”

The food bank will donate hampers full of goodies to those families struggling the most at Christmas. They will give out between 70 and 100 hampers.

Lisa said: “For some people Christmas dinner is impossible. If they didn’t get a hamper, they wouldn’t have any goodies.

“Some people have no money to buy gas or electric, never mind Christmas dinner.”

You can make donations at Ilkeston Library, Citizens Advice Bureau, Arena Church, or Arena Community on Belfield Street.

Items needed include tins of soup, baked beans, and other tinned goods, tea, coffee, UHT milk, cereal, jams or tins of fruit, pasta, rice, potatoes, chocolate and biscuits.

The Arena Church also provides a Christmas dinner on Christmas day.