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23 October 2023

Key to Life Foodbank launches Christmas Appeal

Key to Life Foodbank, a partnership between youth homeless charity Key and Churches Together South Tyneside, has launched its annual seasonal appeal to spread plenty of seasonal cheer and Christmas magic, alongside vital donations of essentials, as it anticipates another spike in demand due to the continued cost of living crisis.

Last year, many had to choose between heating or eating. After more than a year of rising costs and stretched budgets, some now can’t afford either. There are plenty of ways the public can get involved to help make Christmas special for struggling families and individuals throughout South Tyneside.

The foodbank is once again appealing for donations of Christmas fare and festive treats, to complement its emergency food parcels and brighten Christmas for those living in poverty. Whatever people can spare will be most appreciated.

Key to Life is also requesting donations of new and unwrapped toys and gifts, and vouchers for older children, to transform Christmas for families who are unable to afford presents this year. If you’re unable to get down to the foodbank in person, Key to Life also has an Amazon wishlist set up with a range of gifts for children of all ages to choose from and Amazon will deliver directly to the charity.

Donations of new, or good quality pre-loved, children’s onesies and dressing gowns are most welcome too, to make it a cosier Christmas all round.

If you are a family with children aged 16 and under who would like to benefit from either, please click here to complete an online application form which must be submitted by Friday 8 December. Gifts will be allocated from Monday 11 December and must be collected from Key to Life.

To allow sufficient time to distribute to those most in need before the big day, Christmas food and toy donations should be dropped off from Monday 23 October until Friday 8 December. Any spare gift bags and wrapping paper would also be most appreciated.

Key to Life is open 10am-4pm Monday to Friday and located inside Boldon Lane Library, postcode NE34 0LZ. Due to extremely high demand at this time of year, it would be most helpful if donations could be received between 12-3pm to avoid peak times.

There are also several ways to donate financially this Christmas:

  • Online:

  • By cheque: Please make payable to ‘Key Community’ and post to: Key Community, 116 Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BA.
  • By bank transfer: Please transfer to ‘Key Community’ at Unity Trust Bank, Sort code: 60-83-01, Account no: 20071815.~
  • By text: Text BAUBLE followed by any whole pound amount between £1 and £20 to 70560 to give that amount (e.g. text ‘BAUBLE5’ to give £5). Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message)

You can make your financial gift worth an extra 25% by Gift Aiding your donation. Simply complete and return a Gift Aid form downloadable from Key’s website here.

Christmas is Key to Life’s busiest time of the year and additional volunteers are always most appreciated. If you find yourself with some free time on your hands and want to give something back by ‘elfing out’ at the foodbank over the festive period they’d love to hear from you: DM the Key to Life Foodbank Facebook page or give them a call on 07833 613 393 during opening hours.

You can also show your support for the charity, and stand out from the Christmas card crowds, by sending unique, heartfelt personalised charity cards or charity e-cards from Making A Difference Cards. There’s a huge array to choose from including photo upload cards, digital game and puzzle cards, single cards and multipacks.

With a minimum donation of £1 per card and the choice of displaying the donation in the card for your loved one or increasing the amount and letting the recipient know it’s in lieu of a gift, it’s the perfect choice for the person who has everything. Shop via selecting ‘Key Community’ as your chosen charity.

Jo Benham Brown, Business Development and Communities Manager at Key, said: “With many households now in desperate hardship, suffering from the biggest cuts in living standards in forty years, amid escalating food and fuel bills, alongside rising taxes and interest rates, we’re anticipating more people than ever to turn to our foodbank this Christmas.”

“Unfortunately even we aren’t immune to this crisis, with rising costs of our own at Key to Life and the worsening situation leading to a drop in donations meaning diminishing stocks at a time of unprecedented demand when many more people are needing to use a foodbank for the very first time.”

“We know times are tough for everyone but please spare a thought, and whatever you can, for someone in need close to home this year.”

For more information about Key to Life’s Christmas Appeal: