This week we have joined forces with church leaders in a bid to Feed Our Families this Christmas.
We have linked up with the Ripley churches’ Christmas food parcel scheme to make sure local families don’t go hungry this festive season.
And we need your help.
The project is headed up by the town’s Salvation Army, based at Heath Road, which last year helped more than 100 families.
The charity hands out bundles of food to keep people fed over the yuletide period so they can enjoy just some of those festive trappings many of us take for granted.
Envoy for the Salvation Army Kevin Wibberley said: “We provide food parcels to families throughout the year, but we would want to do something slightly extra throughout the Christmas season.
“We need those staple foods – things which can provide meals for people. But at Christmas, we try to provide that something special as well that could really make their Christmas, such as a small box of chocolates, biscuits, anything like that.”
And this is where the News – and you — come in.
We want to help add as much food as possible to the cause - from staple dried and tinned goods that can make sure families, some of which are desperately poor, don’t go hungry, to non-perishable festive goods.
We know times are hard and everyone is having to tighten their belts, so that’s why we are asking if you, our always generous readers, can donate one item of non-perishable food. And if you can manage that once a week, buying an extra tin or packet during the weekly shop, that would be fantastic. If you can donate more or are a firm that can help, please get in touch too.
We’d also like to help struggling families by donating gifts for children, wrapping paper for presents and toys in good condition are also welcome.
For many it could be the only present they receive this year.
All of the produce given by News readers will be passed on to the Salvation Army to add that bit extra to the parcels they hand out in the run up to Christmas.
Mr Wibberley said: “We are not looking for the top quality brands – the basic staple stuff is quite adequate.
“We would much rather feed someone for three days than just one day in luxury.”
The food parcel scheme sees churches in Ripley collect and store foods throughout the year.
Families that receive the goods are referred via a number of agencies including social services.
Mr Wibberley said: “The last food parcel I took out was for a 19-year-old mother with young children living in a flat in Ripley. But as she was recently rehomed and on benefits she had to go a long time without any income at all.
“Sometimes we take the parcels to women who have had to move out of a home because of domestic violence and they have nothing, leaving everything behind.
“Some of the saddest cases to see are people that have just come out of prison and are just unable to cope.”
call 0115 9446160.