Helping hand for people in crisis

SUPPORTING FAMILIES: With the collection box at our head office in Ringwood are Chief Executive Mark Aitchison, left, and Fergus Davitt, Hotel Services Manager.

We have teamed up with local food banks to help families and individuals in desperate need this winter.

Donors have been dropping off food in collection boxes at all 21 of our homes and at our head office in Ringwood.

The donations are distributed to food banks battling to meet a surge in demand from families facing financial hardship and food poverty.  We are also donating food directly ourselves and have invited our suppliers to do the same. The first to come on board was the wholesaler Bidfood, which is contributing a range of tinned and dry foods.

Our Hotel Services Manager Fergus Davitt said: “We thank all those suppliers who are supporting us in our food bank initiative. Together we can really make a difference to the lives of families in the communities around our homes.”

Oliver Stanley, chairman of the Lymington-based New Forest Basics Bank, said: “We are bowled over and very grateful to Colten Care for their support. They are such a well-known and respected name in and around Lymington and we’re thrilled they have joined forces with us.

“We’re currently working with around 100 families a week, providing them with enough food to see them through.”

The Trussell Trust, another of the food bank networks we are supporting, recently released a report about the impact of coronavirus on the use of food banks nationally.  It showed families with children had been hardest hit by food poverty.

The Trust forecasts a 61% increase in demand this winter, with six emergency parcels needing to be given out every minute across the UK.

Items most requested by food banks include tinned fruit, tinned meat, cereal, soup, pasta, washing-up liquid, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes and pet food. Donations must be in-date and non-perishable.

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