A CALL for Christmas treats has been launched by Wokingham Food Bank for struggling residents this festive season.
The food bank has asked for a range of products for families who use their service this Christmas.
In a tweet this week, they asked for sweet treats including small and medium Christmas puddings, small Christmas cakes or slices, small boxes of chocolates, selection boxes and boxes of biscuits.
Savoury items requested include tinned ham, chicken and salmon, as well as nuts, crisps and crackers for cheese.
Also on the list is tinned fruit and cream.
The organisation have also asked for donations of shopping bags, as they are used to package up the food parcels.
The foodbank manager Carole Grey said: “We need shopping bags more than anything, we go through so many.
“We prefer the Bags For Life.
“We do ask clients to bring their own, but we need people to help us out.”
Mrs Grey said that the foodbank has been particularly busy of late. Over the past year, the Wokingham Food Bank has helped feed 2,400 people in the area.
Each food parcel given out contains healthy and balanced meals for three days.
On Friday last week, they handed out 16 such parcels to families in need. Mrs Grey said that the system is used by people from all kinds of backgrounds.
“People think it’s just people on benefits, but it’s not,” she explained. “People don’t understand that. People don’t have the savings they used to have. It just needs your boiler to break down and all bills to come in at once and they struggle.”
Mrs Grey said that recent donations from harvest collections and a weekend collecting in Tesco, means that they have a good stock – although they always need more.
“We’re very blessed with a generous community,” she said. “But we’re always short of washing powder and cleaning products.
“We’re also short on dog food. People like to get biscuits.”
But, she added: “Please don’t get enormous packets, just normal ones.”
The Christmas donations should be given by Monday, December 16, in order to have them prepared in time for the big day.
“This gives us sufficient time to hand them out,” Mrs Grey said. “We like to offer something special for Christmas. When the clients come in with their voucher, we give them a normal bag and a bag to enjoy on Christmas Day.”
And it’s not just food in the parcels.
“We like to give a toy to the children and a gift for mums and dads, such as socks, beanies, shaving kits, toiletries. Just a little something, nothing too expensive. It makes such a difference.”
To claim a food bank parcel, you must have a foodbank voucher. These are issued by a range of local authorities including Wokingham Borough Council and Citizens Advice.
The Wokingham Food Bank is located on Broad Street Walk, between Chancellor’s Estate Agent and The Nationwide Building Society in Wokingham.
Items – which must be in date and unused – can be left in collection boxes in Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose, plus churches across the borough. They can also be taken to the foodbank on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings between 10am and noon.
“We’re open for clients in the afternoon and we try to give them some privacy,” Mrs Grey explains.
For more details, log on to wokingham.foodbank.org.uk