OUR 2012 Christmas appeal has got off to a flying start with donations already pouring in.
Sleeping bags and bundles of clothes are among the items which have been dropped off at our offices by thoughtful readers.
And we have also had support from Tollgate Court Business Centre firm Storage Boost, with bosses offering to be another drop-off point for items, and to store things over the next few weeks.
Storage Boost manager Sally Hincks said: “I read about the Newsletter’s campaign and it just really struck a chord with me.
“At this time of year when everyone’s thinking about Christmas and eating and drinking and making merry with our families, it seems to me it’s more important than ever to look to those who are a little bit less fortunate.
“It’s heartbreaking to think that some people might not have a warm place to go on Christmas Day and we wanted to do something to show how much we supported the good cause the Newsletter has chosen to back this year.”
Miss Hincks said anyone who wanted to drop off donations could come to the business on Tollgate Drive between 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday and between 9am and 5pm on a Saturday.
House of Bread was the brainchild of Stafford man Matt Turner.
He and volunteers from Trinity Church originally opened up for the first time at St Mary’s Mews in September 2010.
Since then, the project has gone from strength-to-strength, moving to a bigger venue within Trinity Church.
Each Wednesday evening, the room is open between 6pm and 8pm for anyone to drop in for a hot meal and to chat with volunteers and other diners.
While House of Bread’s main aim might be to provide a hot meal and food parcels for those struggling to afford food, it also provides a special clothing and blanket bank to help people who live on the street keep warm.
Volunteer Chris Tighe, who organises the clothing, said: “For people living on the streets, it is important they wear a lot of layers to keep warm so we have shirts and jumpers, some coats and even shoes and socks to give out. Generally, people are allowed two items per person.
“We don’t always have sleeping bags and blankets to give out but when we do then obviously we try to ensure all those who need them can get them. If anyone has any blankets they don’t use then please think about us.”
Christmas Appeal - All Wrapped Up
THE festive season for most of us means battling the crowds, Christmas shopping, decorating trees, eating, drinking and generally making merry.
But it is also a special time of year, which makes us reflect on the world and think of those a little less fortunate and in need of a helping hand.
And that’s where our 2012 Christmas appeal All Wrapped Up comes in.
This year we are supporting House of Bread in Stafford.
This vital service has been up and running for only a couple of years but already provides help to homeless people and those living on the poverty line in and around Stafford.
Once a week it provides a place for people to sit down in the warmth and enjoy a hot meal.
They have the chance to talk to volunteers and get advice and information, before leaving with a small food bag of tinned goods.
The charity even provides blankets, sleeping bags, clothes and tents where possible and on Christmas Day it will open its doors to provide turkey and tinsel for those who need it.
The organisation has no funding and relies solely on donations and the generosity of volunteers to provide the service.
And this year the Newsletter is aiming to brighten up Christmas for all those in need by urging our generous readers to donate items, which can be handed out as presents on Christmas Day.
All gifts can be dropped off at the Newsletter offices in Derby Street, Stafford.