Festive Food Appeal: 'You're All Christmas Stars

Torbay Weekly

Torbay has united to make sure nobody goes hungry this Christmas.

It was just a few weeks ago that the Torbay Weekly teamed up with the Torbay Food Alliance and other partners to launch a special Festive Food Appeal.

The response from across the community has been overwhelming as the Bay’s festive spirit shines through at these most challenging of times.

Even Torquay United have added their backing to the appeal.

Included within the food hampers now being distributed to hundreds of needy families and vulnerable residents are a number of festive treats to make Christmas that little more special -  and United are donating free match tickets to be enclosed with each package. Each family is being invited to one of The Gulls’ January fixtures.

The local heroes delivering that seasonal cheer aren’t being forgotten either, with the hardworking volunteers also being invited to attend United’s game against Solihull Moors as guests of the club in the New Year

United Directors George Edwards and Mel Hayman said: "We’re delighted to have been able to assist these fantastic organisations in making Christmas extra special for local families, and we were only too happy to recognise the hard work of all their devoted volunteers as well.

“It’s been very rewarding working together with Torbay Council on this project, and we wish everyone a very happy, and healthy Christmas.”

On Monday sets of tickets were also delivered to children in Torbay Hospital’s Louisa Cary ward, so every patient on the ward will have a day with their family to look forward to in 2022.

The club’s Online Advent Calendar initiative has also been boosting the Hospital’s Covid Emergency Appeal – much to the delight of Gulls boss Gary Johnson.

The club says: “We say congratulations to all the people that are involved in Torbay Hospital’s Covid Emergency Appeal Credit to the instigators, and to the contributors, for a fantastic cause.”

*Volunteers at the YES charity in Brixham, who build a free grotto for local children to visit Santa Claus, took time out to pack Christmas hampers.

*Workers across the Bay have been encouraged to make food donations in the workplace including the ICU at Torbay Hospital where nurse Suzie Beer has  been overseeing the donation box and delivering to charity Path when it’s full

The Act of Kindness Project has also come up trumps with people in the work place who are all buddied with one of the food banks in the Alliance.  Torbay Leisure Centre and the Riviera International Centre have recently joined the food donation project.

*Path have praised the Bay’s caring community. A spokesman said: “Torbay’s generosity has been more than ever this Christmas. Thanks to the Torbay Food Alliance and Torbay Helpline, charities and community groups like PATH have been given an amazing opportunity to reach and support, more people in crisis and food poverty, than ever before.

“Supermarkets, shops, bakeries, schools, churches, businesses, care homes, local authority, dentists and Torbay Hospital, have all collected huge amounts of food, presents and shoeboxes.”

Path opening hours (Covid depending) will remain as normal: Monday to Thursday (2pm to 7pm), Saturdays and Sundays (4pm to 7pm, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

* Paignton Community Larder has said a huge thank you to Torbay Weekly readers.

Co-ordinator Andy Bichard said: “The response this month has been fantastic. Without their support we would not be able to provide the 120 Christmas Hampers that have gone out to families across Paignton this week.

“The amount of donations has been incredible and we would like to thank every single person, organisation, school and church that has contributed in the last few weeks to our appeal. You have all made a hugely positive difference and are a true blessing to the community in which we serve.”

He added: “I have been privileged to have been part of the Torbay Food Alliance from the its inception in 2020, initially at Torquay Community Larder and now at Paignton Community Larder. The willingness to work together, share resources and ideas has created longstanding relationships that ultimately benefit all those who come to us in need of provision. It shows what can be achieved when likeminded people who have a genuine love for people can achieve when united in common purpose.”

Foodbank user Lynne said: “The support from Paignton Community Larder has been overwhelming. Not only with food for my family, but listening and helping me to engage with other services. I don’t know what we would have done without their support.”