Why we’re starting our Christmas collection early this year

hampers2It’s only November but we are already starting to ask for donations for our annual Christmas hampers.

Every year our Pregnancy Outreach Workers (POWS) put together hampers that include essentials – food and baby items – as well as a few extra treats that we hope will help families over the Christmas period. But this year, we’ve started collecting a bit earlier than usual.

To put it simply, this is because we are seeing an increased need for food parcels, foodbank vouchers, and money from our hardship fund.

foodbank2
Justine, who runs the POW service, said, “The amount of hardship money we’ve given out has increased steadily over the last few months. We have also been giving out more vouchers for the Trussell Food Banks this year, in addition to the food that we give out ourselves.”

Traditionally, our POW service has had the largest need for food parcels, but over the last year we have seen an increase in need across all our services, not just POWS. Health Trainers are reporting that more and more of their clients have been in need of basic essentials, and have needed to access our food bank and hardship funds.

These statements were recently made by Health Trainer clients on our Impact Assessment App:

It would be easier for me to get one bus [to the swimming pool, instead of two], because my benefits are being cut back by £120 fortnightly. I have to budget my money carefully. They are stopping my DLA and may put me on PIP. I don’t know how much money I will be getting.

and

My living conditions are quite bad and I don’t have much money to buy healthy food.

This one is from a Lighten Up client:

I had to give up on the classes, as when money is hard its the last thing you think about.

And worryingly, we’ve found that many of the older people we’ve met through our newest project, Healthy Futures, have significant financial hardship issues too. Despite only having a handful of referrals to date, we can already see that there will be a need to provide food parcels and hardship payments for many of the people who are being referred to us. (Of course this will be as well as helping them to access all the support they are entitled to and signposting them to other agencies who can help.)

How can you help?

For our food bank and baby bank, we are in need of everyday, non-perishable food items and baby essentials. For our Christmas hampers, we like to include some little treats, like toys for baby and sweets or ‘smellies’ for mum. If you think you could donate, you can bring items to us at the Gateway offices, or give us a call on 0121 456 7820 and we can arrange to collect.

  • Tins – beans, soup, custard, peas, beans, fish (tuna, mackerel, pilchards) etc.
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Herbs and spices
  • Lentils
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauces/jars of sauce
  • Biscuits
  • Some sweets and chocolate would be nice
  • Clothes – up to twelve months as we have little space to hold them
  • Sanitary towels – the larger “maxi pad” type is better for new mums
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • ‘Smellies’ for mum
  • Shampoo – unopened
  • Body lotion – unopened
  • Newborn nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • Cotton wool
  • Baby bath wash
  • Baby lotion
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Books

We also have an Amazon Wishlist that contains some of the things we would like. (However, please be aware that it’s often cheaper to buy nappies, food and baby essentials in the supermarket!)

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