In the months, weeks and days in the run up to Christmas the Causeway Foodbank Team were busy not only providing emergency food packs for local people in crisis but also preparing to bless people in the community with Christmas food hampers. But by the time Christmas came we had a few extra surprises in store.
In the 6 weeks running up to Christmas we had tremendous fun out in the community at different events including the National Tesco Collection weekend in Limavady, Coleraine & Portstewart, as well as an awareness & collection day in Asda Coleraine where the shoppers were entertained with festive music from the Foodbank buskers (aka Ian Hannah & Friends). We were invited to have a stall at the Ballycastle Christmas Market & our permanent collection points at Sainsburys Coleraine & Co-Op Ballycastle never seemed to empty! The staff at Moores Coleraine, Northern Regional College Coleraine & the pupils of Ballycastle High School all collected food for the Foodbank along with a number of individual food donations from the community with two families travelling from Limavady & Kilrea to support their local community. Thanks to the incredible generosity of the Causeway Coast community nearly 6 tonnes of food was donated to help local people!
An amazing team of volunteers wrapped packed & decorated 110 Hampers of Hope to be distributed to CAP & Causeway Foodbank clients in the Coleraine area and with the food collected in Limavady, the Salvation Army & St Vincent de Paul identified local families in need and distributed over 150 hampers to the community in there.
This year we were blessed with a donation of toys from the Cool Fm/Downtown Radio Cash for kids programme. In total we received and distributed toys and Christmas gifts to families along with the Hampers of Hope for 226 children in our community.
Then on the 23rd December in the afternoon we had a phone call into Causeway Foodbank HQ from a man who had 2 spare turkeys and wanted to give them to the Foodbank. 20 minutes later another phone call came in from a lady in the community who had ordered turkey dinner portions from a local butcher especially for the Foodbank. That Tuesday evening when the Foodbank was open we were able to abundantly bless 12 families with hampers of hope, Christmas gifts, turkeys, fresh potatoes & peas to enjoy all the festive basics and treats that they would not have been able to provide for themselves & their families.
People's generosity continued when on Christmas eve we had a delivery of fresh vegetables, turkey & a gammon joint from Tesco in Portstewart and we were able to surprise 2 more families with fresh turkey & trimmings for Christmas!! This food would have gone to waste only the team at Tesco Portstewart wanted to give it to someone who needed it!
During the week before Christmas Causeway Foodbank provided emergency food for 147 people in our community- 3 times more than the same week in 2013.
A massive THANK YOU to all the volunteers, donators & supporters for helping us to bring hope in a wee bag of groceries in 2014. Without you none of this would have been possible! We had the honour & joy of restoring hope to families in our community in 2014.
If you would like some more information about Causeway Foodbank and how you could get involved and make a difference to families in our community contact Melanie Gibson at the Vineyard Compassion Office on 028 7032 6161 ext 4 or email firstname.lastname@example.org