Calls for support for Harrogate foodbank after busy Christmas period

It has been an overwhelming Christmas period for Harrogate District Foodbank, with huge donations pouring in over the festive season.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 11:40 am
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 11:41 am

Staff at the foodbank have said they have been “inundated” with food parcels and donations over Christmas and are well-stocked as they go into the new year - but are still in need of a cash boost to preserve their resources.

With donations from local businesses and organisations like Rudding Park and North Yorkshire Police, as well as families and schools who created ‘reverse advent calendars’ - swapping out the chocolate for a donation of one food item per day - they were more than able to help those in need.

The Harrogate Foodbank experienced a busy festive period, and now needs financial support to maintain its services to the community.

Foodbank Project Manager Lucy Stewart told the Harrogate Advertiser: “We have seen so much support in the last year and we really are so grateful.

“Local schools, churches and businesses as well as families and individuals have really come together and shown how generous people in Harrogate can be.

“Whenever we put out the word that we need something, we know that the Harrogate public will be on hand to help - they are always so quick to respond and give us whatever we need.

Our team have been fabulous and everyone has worked together to make sure that nobody had to go without at Christmas.”

Lucy said the foodbank had been busier over a longer period of time at Christmas, describing the four sessions leading up to it as “hectic”.

The team had been prepared for the extra donations and demand, with more warehouse space, volunteers and organisation to ensure that everything was put away quickly and was easy to access when building the food parcels.

They were also able to give out festive treats alongside the basic packages, helping to brighten up Christmas for those struggling.

Lucy added: “It was really nice that we were able to give people an extra little treat, with selection boxes, crackers and gift sets, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

“It’s so hard to see families coming in on Christmas Eve, knowing the position they are in, but we try to help however we can.”

But with increasing demand and food donations comes increasing costs, and the foodbank is now calling on the people of Harrogate to help with cash donations.

The foodbank receives no official Government funding and relies on grants and donations to keep going.

“We want to still be here to support and serve the people who need us the most, but costs are going up and we need more money.

“It’s amazing that so many places are donating food but we now need extra warehouse space as well as having to hire a van every week to pick up and transport the food - and that doesn’t come cheap.

“Any support that people can give would mean the world to us,” Lucy said.

The foodbank has a programme of fundraising events taking place this year, starting with a jazz night at Mowbray Church on January 16.

It is also holding a golf tournament at Pannal Golf Club on May 20 and is appealing for teams to take part, as well as for raffle prizes.

Lucy is also encouraging anyone who wishes to set up a cash donation or who has any more fundraising ideas to get in touch with them with their ideas or support.