Hitchin Christmas Community launches ‘biggest ever’ food hamper appeal

The Christmas Community Team are hoping to deliver 120 hampers this festive season. Picture: Phil Ja

The Christmas Community Team are hoping to deliver 120 hampers this festive season. Picture: Phil Jackson - Credit: Archant

The Hitchin Christmas Community Team has launched its 2019 food hamper appeal, hoping to provide 150 hampers for families in need.

Formed in 2015, the group of volunteers brings together community organisations to provide fresh food hampers for those less well-off over Christmas.

The 2019 team is made up of Hitchin Partnership CIO, Zeo Church, Rotary Club of Hitchin Tilehouse, Hitchin Round Table, Hitchin Volunteer Army, Hitchin Youth Trust, The Salvation Army and The Foodbank Hitchin.

Phil Jackson, community director at Zeo Church, said: "With all the help and support we receive, we were able to provide 115 Christmas Food hampers last year to individuals and families referred to us. "This year we were aiming to offer 120, but there has been so much demand we've had to upscale it to 150. Christmas can be a hard time of year for a number of reasons - low income, unemployment, bereavement, mental health issues and loneliness.

"The Christmas hamper is a small gesture providing some essentials over the Christmas period and shows a community that cares."

The Community Team ensure that hampers contain everything needed for a classic Christmas meal, including a joint of meat, sausages, potatoes, vegetables, stuffing mix and gravy - along with Christmas pudding, mince pies and selection boxes.

This year's appeal was launched at the Hitchin Wine & Food Festival and donations are still being accepted.

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If you wish to donate food, go to the Brookers branch in Bilton Road, or the Hitchin Initiative before Saturday, December 21.

Requested items include tea, coffee, UHT milk, breakfast cereal, pasta, pasta sauces, rice, noodles, cream crackers, pickles, sauces, tinned beans, soup, vegetables, fruit, multi-bags of crisps, rice pudding, jelly, flour, batter mix and bags for life.

The team will prepare the hampers on the weekend before Christmas - taking over the kitchens of The Priory School - before their team of about 50 volunteers deliver them to Hitchin residents and families on December 23.

The team have also received support from schools and PTAs in Hitchin, Our Lady's Catholic Church and Christchurch, North Herts district councillors Judi Billing and Derrick Ashley, Sainsburys, The Salvation Army and Hitchin Market.

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