‘People are being helped – that’s what we’re all about here’

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KINDHEARTED people helped to wrap Christmas presents that are set to be donated to those in need.

Dozens of Leigh Park residents packed into St Francis Church yesterday for the annual operation, dubbed The Big Wrap.

The drive was organised by the Riders Lane church’s resident PO9 Food Bank, which has served scores of needy families in the heart of Leigh Park for more than 10 years.

Every present wrapped at the event will be donated to local families, in a bid to reach out to people who have fallen on hard times this Christmas.

Lorraine Alexander from West Leigh, a previous user of the food bank, got involved in The Big Wrap to give back to those who guided her through hard times.

The 47-year-old said: ‘Because people have helped me out in the past, I really wanted to come out and support others in the same situation.

‘This is a really nice way to show people in need that someone out there cares and I hope we can make a difference together.’

Others assembled a present-wrapping team by bringing their children along for the fun, including 36-year-old Liz Costall.

Mrs Costall, who has three sons and also attended with her mother, Sarah, said: ‘I’ve always wanted to come and help out at the food bank over the years and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

‘I brought my kids along so they could see and understand the need of members of our community.’

The gifts – which are appropriate for residents of all age groups – were donated to the PO9 Food Bank by local businesses and organisations.

Following yesterday’s event, organised by food bank volunteer Darren Mckenna, they will make their way to local families over the next few days.

He said: ‘I’d say we have comfortably collected more than 1,000 presents here today. This is a beautiful gift for me as a volunteer because I get to see people being helped. That’s what we’re all about.

‘Lots of food banks take referrals – which is their choice – but our policy rests on one question. Are you hungry?

‘If someone answers yes, then you can guarantee they are going to have our backing.’