One of South Tyneside’s largest and longest running Christmas Appeals is now underway to help make Christmas special for some of the most vulnerable in its community.
KEY2Life Foodbank, a partnership between youth homeless charity KEY Project and Churches Together South Tyneside, has launched its annual seasonal appeal to spread plenty of festive cheer, alongside vital donations of essentials, as it continues to see a spike in demand due to the impact of the pandemic.
Following the success of last year’s Christmas Hamper Appeal, the foodbank is once again appealing for donations of Christmas fare and festive treats, individual items or completed hampers, whatever people can spare will be most appreciated.
The foodbank is also requesting donations of new and unwrapped toys and gifts, and vouchers for older children, to bring some Christmas joy to the struggling families it supports who need it most this festive season, and whose children might otherwise not receive a present.
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 before 3pm on Thursday 9 December.
To allow sufficient time to distribute to those most in need before the big day, Christmas hamper and toy donations should be dropped off over the next three weeks, from Monday 22 November until Friday 10 December. Any spare gift bags and wrapping paper would also be most appreciated.
KEY2Life 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.
Jo Benham Brown, Business Development and Communities Manager at KEY Project, said:” While Covid-19 has impacted on all our daily lives, the pandemic has widened existing inequalities and drastically worsened the financial situation for many in our community. We’ve seen a staggering 310% increase in the number of referrals to our KEY2Life Food Bank and are now feeding over 16,000 people annually as a direct result of the pandemic. Combined with the increase in fuel and energy prices and the removal of the £20 Universal Credit Uplift many are facing desperate hardship this Christmas.”
“We want to make Christmas special for those who may have little food in the house or nothing under the tree on Christmas morning, so they know that someone is thinking about them and that they are not alone this festive season. We have been so overwhelmed by the generosity of our community already this year, which just goes to prove the adage that it feels good to do good, so please if you can, spare a thought for someone in need close to home this year.”
For those who prefer to, you can also donate financially this Christmas to help provide an emergency food parcel for a neighbour struggling to put food on the table or ensure a safe home for a local young person:
- Online: keyproject.org.uk/donate
- By cheque: please make payable to ‘South Tyneside Churches KEY Project’ and post to KEY Project, 116 Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BA
- By BACS: please transfer to ‘South Tyneside Churches KEY Project’ at Unity Trust Bank, Sort code: 60-83-01, Account no: 20071815
- By text:
Text 5XMAS to 70580 to donate £5
Text 10XMAS to 70580 to donate £10
Text 15XMAS to 70580 to donate £15
Text 20XMAS to 70580 to donate £20
(Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message)
Christmas is KEY2Life’s busiest time of the year and additional volunteers are always most welcome. If you’re able to ‘elf’ out at the foodbank over the festive period, there’s a variety of roles available (unpacking and sorting donations, preparing food parcels and hampers, wrapping presents, delivery drivers) please get in touch asap: DM the KEY2Life Facebook page or give them a call on 07833 613 393 during opening hours.
For more information about KEY2Life’s Christmas Appeal visit: keyproject.org.uk/key-2-life-christmas-appeal