The Observer Christmas appeal gathers strength

Denise Chadburn, Wendy Webb and Katie Observer from the Bognor Regis Observer show just some of the goodies donated by readers
Denise Chadburn, Wendy Webb and Katie Observer from the Bognor Regis Observer show just some of the goodies donated by readers
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DONATIONS are pouring in from big-hearted readers for our annual Observer festive appeal.

Generous residents have dug deep to support the Christmas trEATS campaign, bringing bags and boxes full of goodies to the Observer offices in Chichester and Bognor Regis.

These will be passed on to volunteers at the foodbanks in the two areas to help a family in need this Christmas.

Both Chichester and Bognor Regis foodbanks are part of the Trussell Trust, a UK-wide charity which provides a minimum of three days’ emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis.

All food is donated by the public and sorted by volunteers. Care professionals such as doctors and social workers identify people in crisis and issue a food voucher. Clients receive three days of nutritionally-balanced, non-perishable food in exchange for their food voucher. Foodbanks also make time to chat and to signpost clients to other helpful services.

And our festive appeal has clearly been taken to heart by Observer readers who have been bringing in gifts of biscuits, chocolate, pasta, tea and coffee this week, as well as tins of fruit, beans and soup.

Many have clubbed together to help out, including residents of Lacy House in Stockbridge Road, Chichester, who distributed flyers then made several trips to the Observer office to deposit the much-needed items.

Sandie Bolton is one of 15 volunteers at the Bognor Regis foodbank, and she welcomed readers’ support for the Christmas trEATS campaign.

The foodbank opened its doors in April and gave its first food parcel at the end of May – since then, it has given out 330 parcels, more than a third of which were specifically for children in need.

“There is definitely a need and it is increasing,” she said. “We have seen far more people over the last couple of months.”

The bulk of the foodbank’s donations come from its monthly collections at Morrisons in Bognor Regis, but Ms Bolton urged more people to spread the word about their work.

“I am sure there are more people out there who could do with the help, if only they knew about us,” she added.

“If there are agencies or schools which are working with needy people, they can refer them to us. We need people to come in, and they can only come in if they have a voucher.”