Thanks so much! The News Christmas Food Appeal is a huge success

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IT’S been a huge success and now hundreds of people in need across our area are looking forward to a happy Christmas.

Readers have donated generously and dozens of trolleys at supermarkets overflowed with food for The News Christmas Food Appeal.

Anna and Steve Curtis of Lee-on-the-Solent with their food hamper from The News Christmas Appeal.''Picture: Paul Jacobs (143644-2)

Anna and Steve Curtis of Lee-on-the-Solent with their food hamper from The News Christmas Appeal.''Picture: Paul Jacobs (143644-2)

The donations have been distributed to food banks and shelters and delivered to those in desperate need.

It means they can wake up tomorrow morning without worrying how they are going to feed their families and give them a nice Christmas.

One of those who will benefit from the generosity is Anna Curtis.

The 29-year-old is eight months pregnant with her first child. Both she and her husband Stephen have struggled to find work.

Stephen, 28, has been working at temporary jobs to try and bring some money in for them.

The couple, of Russell Road in Lee-on-the-Solent have been supported by the food bank at Lee Community Church.

Anna said: ‘It’s so amazing because one thing that we do when we shop without a lot of money is buy the basics.

‘We can’t do treats for Christmas. It’s great when it’s given to you as extra treats.

‘You see all the festivities going on and sometimes feel a bit excluded.

‘It’s amazing to have something where it feels like you are being treated well.

‘There are so many people who need it. It’s not like they can’t be bothered to get work. It’s a real need.

‘It’s been a bit of a lifesaver for us and I can imagine it has been for others.’

Mince pies, Christmas puddings, chocolates and sweets, as well as basic items such as tins of vegetables and soup are among the items people donated to help those less fortunate to have a happy Christmas.

Editor of The News Mark Waldron said: ‘I’d like to thank every single one of our readers who dug deep and got involved with this appeal

‘It goes to show what a caring and giving part of the country we live in.’

Anna said the support from the food bank has been essential after the money stopped coming in.

‘We were finding that we weren’t making ends meet,’ she said. ‘We have to prioritise bills and you find yourself without much food in the house.

‘We just needed that little top-up every so often to build up our cupboards so we could actually eat properly.

‘There were weeks when I’m not sure how we would have done it had we not had that box of food turn up.

‘It’s been a bit of a lifesaver for us and I can imagine it has been for others.’

‘It’s amazing!’

SINCE Debbie Guest lost her husband three years ago, she has struggled to get by.

But thanks to Lee Community Church and The News Christmas Food Appeal, she will enjoy a happy Christmas with her daughter and two grandchildren.

The 53-year-old has relied on donations from the food bank over the last few years. And now, she has praised the food appeal.

‘It’s amazing because it’s Christmas in a box. Some people wouldn’t have anything,’ she said.

‘For single parents or people who have been widowed, it’s just essential. Especially in today’s world.

‘It’s hard to get by in this world as it is at the moment so just having somebody else look out for you is great.

‘It’s like a little miracle at Christmas time.

‘It can mean everything. Some people just wouldn’t have anything at all.

‘Just to have that, knowing that somebody is carefully putting all that stuff together for them means somebody has thought of them at that time. It’s an amazing service.’

Debbie, from Trinity Green in Gosport, said the food bank has been a lifesaver.

‘It’s just absolutely amazing. It’s been three years since my husband died.

‘The people at the food bank are like friends now. I really look forward to seeing them.’

Food banks stock up their shelves thanks to appeal

FOOD banks have expressed their gratitude to readers of The News after the campaign was a huge success.

Debbie Dark volunteers at the Waterlooville Food Bank. On Friday, it delivered 85 Christmas hampers to families in need. They also gave toys donated through Wave 105’s toy appeal.

Debbie said: ‘People have been so generous. It’s been fantastic. We have overloaded people with Christmas stuff and we have still got plenty left over.

‘It’s just brilliant. Thank you to The News for putting it on. Otherwise we wouldn’t have got half the amount we have. We are just grateful. People are overwhelmed.’