Wokingham’s pensioners are being urged to give up their Winter Fuel Payment and help make an “incredible difference” to someone in desperate need this winter.
The Wokingham foodbank, based in Rose Street, has launched an appeal called Are You Sitting Comfortably? which urges old residents to give up their fuel payment and others to make a donation to the cause.
It is hoped your generosity will help the foodbank pay the fuel bills of dozens of people in need and ensure they do not have to make a choice between eating or heating.
Your donations will help those referred to the foodbank by local care agencies, social workers and medical personnel. All payments are made directly to energy companies – no cash is handed out.
David Atkinson, who chairs the Wokingham foodbank, told The Wokingham Paper: “It makes an incredible difference.
“Last year, we helped a mother with four children. They had no hot water and it was a pretty miserable time for them. Our help made such a difference to this family.
“We helped 60 families last year through £2,000 of donations and we’re looking to repeat that this year.
“We’re asking if people can spare their winter fuel allowance to do so and help families get through the winter.
“All money goes direct to the companies – no clients get cash.”
The foodbank appeal comes as an MP called on the Prime Minister to tackle hunger in the same way it responds to other emergencies.
Frank Field, the MP for Birkenhead, made the comments on Wednesday at the launch of the Feeding Britain, a new charity that aims to work out how to relieve and prevent hunger in the UK.
Its research reveals that many of the country’s food banks saw increased demand in 2015 – including Wokingham.
The Foodbank held a collection at Tesco in Wokingham last weekend and generous shoppers donated 1.74 tonnes of food over three days.
“It’s really helpful for us,” added Mr Atkinson. “On average we issue a tonne of food a month so the Tesco collection sounds like an awful lot, but in reality it will last us two months.
“People are incredibly good at giving us what we need, but Christmas bits are still needed: pudding, cake, crackers, selection boxes and little gifts such as toiletries and hand cream that we can give out.”
Donations to the Are You Sitting Comfortably? appeal, which is now in it second year, can be made via localgiving.com/appeal/winterfuel or by sending a cheque to the Foodbank’s office in Rose Street.