Striving to ensure everyone has Christmas dinner in Mid Sussex

Sally Martin, who works at the food bank handing out food packages at their Haywards Heath shop. Pic Steve Robards SUS-141215-142835001
Sally Martin, who works at the food bank handing out food packages at their Haywards Heath shop. Pic Steve Robards SUS-141215-142835001

Families who otherwise might not get a Christmas dinner will enjoy a tasty festive season thanks to the hard work of the Haywards Heath food bank and the Burgess Hill Christmas food box donation scheme.

Haywards Heath Co-Op, Halifax bank in Burgess Hill, 1st Central Insurance Company, Steve Wills Training and The Kings Church Mid Sussex helped to collect food to ensure families and individuals in need don’t go hungry at Christmas.

This time of year can be a difficult time for those struggling financially, with extra expenses but no extra money.

A partnership of community groups in Burgess Hill, including the town council, Lions club and Rotary club joined forces to collect food donations and money to support those who might otherwise go hungry.

They put together 213 boxes of food to help those in need, with the Lions donating £1,500 to purchase food.

Tony Parris, secretary of the Burgess Hill District Lions, said: “We put a plan together to help people and by god has it succeeded. There were a lot of grateful tears when the boxes were received.

“The situation around hunger has certainly got worse over the last few years. We are doing everything we can to help others.”

David Wickens, president of the Burgess Hill and District Rotary club, said: “The people organising the scheme enjoyed the work because it was fulfilling a genuine need. The need for food banks and boxes has soared annually.”

The Haywards Heath food bank has seen a rise the number of people seeking help this winter. November 2013 saw 52 people fed by the charity, rising to 128 in November 2014.

Sally Martin, developmental officer of the food bank, said: “There’s been a leap this year in people we help because of the cold winter.

“We get our food from the amazing public. People have brought in Christmas goodies ranging from advent calenders to mince pies and selection boxes, so the food parcels are more festive over Christmas.

“Food banks have to continue their good work until the current atmosphere is resolved. Eating is a basic human right.”