OUR offices have been flooded with donations for our appeal this week by generous readers.
Bags of clothes, food and toiletries are piling up as thoughtful residents remember our campaign.
We have also had offers of support and help from businesses keen to back our charity appeal, including Storage Boost at Tollgate Court Business Centre in Tollgate Drive, which is storing items for us and Arnold Clark in Stafford who have been kind enough to lend us a van to transport donations in.
People can drop off donations there between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am and 5pm, on Saturdays.
And not only that, the campaign and the experiences revealed by volunteers and those helped by the organisation themselves have inspired others to get involved.
Several people have expressed an interest in volunteering for House of Bread, which was the brainchild of Stafford man Matt Turner.
He and some volunteers from the Beacon International Baptist Church originally opened up for the first time at St Mary’s Mews in September 2010.
Since then, it has gone from strength to strength, moving to a bigger venue within Trinity Church.
Each Wednesday evening the room is open for anyone to drop in for a hot meal.
Visitors are served at their table as if in a restaurant and can stay there between 6pm and 8pm, eating and chatting with volunteers and other diners.
They leave with a food bag and can get items of clothing and blankets.
Its success is down to the army of volunteers who give up their time, money and energy for the project.
Some of those who have benefited have even found faith through attending.
Volunteer Will Morris said: “I came along as a volunteer a year and a half ago. I had become a Christian the year before that.
“House of Bread is not about promoting faith, although it does provoke interesting questions and conversations about faith and several people have decided to go to church as a result.
"I think it is down to the fact that people come here and realise that volunteers are doing this for no other benefit but because they want to help.
“Volunteers do as much or as little as they want. Some are more comfortable cooking in the kitchen, others like to be out here meeting the people who come in. Everyone has something to contribute.
“The great thing is that we have a lot of young volunteers aged 18 and 19.”
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, Storage Boost at Tollgate Court Business Centre in Tollgate Drive or at Stafford Train Station.