Hitchin community groups coming together for the true spirit of Christmas

Phil Jackson from the Hitchin Christian Centre with Suzanne Watkinson from the Rotary Club of Hitchi

Phil Jackson from the Hitchin Christian Centre with Suzanne Watkinson from the Rotary Club of Hitchin Tilehouse, Suzanne Greaves and Lorna Hemmings of the Hitchin Volunteer Army, Charmain Ball from Hitchin Foodbank, Debbie Robbins from the Hitchin Partnership CIO or family support team, and Anne Collins from Hitchin Foodbank. Picture: Hitchin Christian Centre - Credit: Archant

Community groups are coming together to give a Christmas hamper to individuals and families living in Hitchin and the surrounding villages.

To reach their target, the Hitchin Christmas Community Team – made up of organisations including Hitchin Partnership, Hitchin Foodbank and Hitchin Volunteer Army – are urging the public and businesses to help donate towards their Christmas Hamper Appeal.

Hitchin Christian Centre director Phil Jackson told the Comet: “For some, 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.

“We try to make sure that the hamper contains everything needed for a Christmas meal, accommodating dietary requirements where possible.

“Last year, the public donated an overwhelming amount of essential extras – pasta, rice, tea, coffee, cereals and more.”

Community groups and members of the public last year provided 103 Christmas food hampers.

This year, the Hitchin Hamper Appeal started on November 18 at the Hitchin Wine & Food Festival.

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Members of the public can still donate at Brookers, Hitchin Initiative and Baldock’s Tesco Extra store.

Phil has thanked schools and PTAs in Hitchin for their support so far, and communities such as the Hitchin Christian Centre and the Salvation Army for donating food items.

He also gave thanks to district councillors Judi Billing and Derrick Ashley for contributing towards the cost of food, and Tesco and Sainsbury’s for helping to collect donations and provide fresh food.

He added: “The Salvation Army and Hitchin Youth Trust have also provided gifts for children and young people.”

Requested donations include dry goods such as pasta, noodles and cream crackers, and tinned goods like beans, soup and fruit.

Hamper requests for the Hitchin area will come from family support workers, Hitchin Christian Centre, Our Lady’s Church, the Salvation Army, the Hitchin Community Mental Health Team, Hitchin Round Table, Growing People, North Hertfordshire Homes, HertsHelp, and Hitchin and Rural Children’s Centres.