THE financial pressures of Christmas can sometimes make it tough to put food on the table.
But the Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank is looking to give a helping hand to people going through a rough patch.
The group has brought back its ‘Reverse Advent’ scheme for a second year, which helps to stock the cupboards during what could be a very busy period.
According to the Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank co-ordinator Phil Rutt, the scheme is easy for people to engage with.
He said: ‘The way it works is at the beginning of Advent, you get a box and over the course of the month you put tins, packets and jars of food into it.
‘At the end of Advent, you can bring it to us and we can distribute it to those who need it – so it’s really easy to get involved.’
Phil says that it is difficult to predict how busy the group will be, but that the general trend has been an increase in demand.
He said: ‘The demand for food banks, so we don’t quite know how busy we are going to be.
‘But we are getting a lot more people coming through the doors, with an alarming rise in the number of families as well.
‘Different people need different foods, depending on what they have in their homes – so that presents an extra challenge to us.
‘This year, we have taken more than 2,000 food bank vouchers and it is showing no sign of slowing down.’
The group is hoping to replicate the success of last year’s fundraising drive.
Phil said: ‘Last year we had around 80 people getting involved, and it gave us an enormous boost.
‘The Reverse Advent scheme is a great way of getting involved with their local foodbanks.
‘For people who don’t live in Gosport or Fareham, this is still a fantastic thing to do to support people less fortunate than ourselves living in the surrounding area.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has backed the scheme and is urging people to get involved.
She said: ‘I can’t think of a better way to capture the true spirit of Christmas.
‘It would be fantastic if local people could support it in any way that they can.
‘The Basics Bank is always grateful for donations no matter how big or small.’
To get in touch with the Gosport branch call (023) 9252 3432 and for the Fareham branch call 01329 822204.
For more information about the group go to facebook.com/farehamandgosportbasicsbank.