Hundreds of volunteers will wrap and deliver Christmas presents to disadvantaged Leigh Park families

VOLUNTEER elves will pack out a Havant church to wrap gifts and make sure disadvantaged families get the Christmas they deserve.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 12:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 12:19 pm

Throughout the year, the dedicated team from FreeBank and FoodBank PO9 have collected gifts from the community to offer to families in need of a little extra support around Christmas time.

Hundreds of people will father in St Francis Church, Riders Lane, on Saturday, December 21 to wrap presents between midday and 5pm and everyone is welcome to help out.

This popular event has grown and this year will be held over two days and two venues to accommodate the number of volunteers wanting to bring joy to the community.

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FoodBank PO9 organiser Darren McKenna and Nancy Wright (eight) pictured at lasts year's Big Wrap at St Francis Church in Leigh Park. Picture Ian Hargreaves (181223-1)

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FoodBank organiser Darren Mckenna said: ‘This is the fourth year of the Big Wrap, starting out of the boot of my car dressed as Santa delivering gifts and sweets to families that had used FoodBank PO9.

‘Since then my team has grown and our FreeBank PO9 project which equips people with clothes, furniture and home and school equipment throughout the year has developed a two-day event bringing members of the community together to donate, wrap and deliver gifts and food to what will this year exceed 500 individuals.’

Families with a driver who would be willing to deliver food and gifts to families in Leigh Park are encouraged to help out at the Community Centre on Sunday, December 22 from midday to 4pm.

(left), Louise Fisher and her daughter Lulu (five), and Karen Richardson and her daughter Sophie Pearson (seven) pictured at last year's Big Wrap event at St Francis Church in Leigh Park. Picture Ian Hargreaves (181223-1)

In addition to this, the team is asking for food donations which include non-perishables which are requested all year round but also for those extras that make the season more pleasant.

This includes anything you would buy for your own families over the festive period such as boxes of biscuits and crackers, chocolates, sweets, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

They also need to secure donations of fresh meat, fish and vegetables to go out with hampers on December 22.

(l to r), Sam Clark and David Warren pictured at last year's Big Wrap event at St Francis Church in Leigh Park. Picture Ian Hargreaves (181223-1)

Refreshments, activities and festive treats will be supplied over the weekend and any profits made will directly fund FoodBank PO9 in 2020.

Darren added: ‘We work closely with churches, community centres, schools and local businesses to identify families we support but we are 100 per cent community led and self-funded.

‘Not a single penny goes to anything but helping our community, no one excluded and everyone welcome.’