“IT’S been overwhelming – people have really come together” – that was the verdict on a major drive to help the hardest hit members of the Redditch community this Christmas.
From more than 160 food parcels for the borough’s poorest to care packages for those on their own and up to 50 hot meals a day for people struggling to get by, Redditch has truly shown its heart, says Liz Williams of Winyates-based Reach CIC.
“The people of Redditch have been wonderful – they always are, but I’ve never felt it as much,” she said.
“The Salvation Army has given us all the toys from their toy appeal, Asda has helped, Morrisons have been stonking, Aldi have been stonking, the schools have been brilliant, people volunteering to deliver stuff, it’s been amazing.”
The food parcels come courtesy of money from the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, but extra donations mean they’ll contain more than the essentials.
These will be handled by Redditch charity Acts of Kindness (AoK) which, as well as running Redditch foodbank, will be organising the food kitchens this Christmas.
Also helping out this Christmas is the Support Redditch network which developed this year and which will step in where needed.
Reach and AoK have been working together to help those in need for close to ten years.
The Rev Robin Baker of AoK and the Oasis Christian Centre said: “Yet again we need to thank everyone for their generosity, even though there is a lot of need in the town.
“We have people who once used the foodbank who now find themselves in better circumstances making donations as a kind of ‘payback’.
“That’s the kind of town we have.”
The care packages are for those who have been relying on Reach and other agencies to help in the pandemic.
“We’ve been doing their shopping and been a friend on the phone for them, but all too often they just ask for the bare minimum,” said Liz.
“Well this year they’ll be getting a little present from us.”
A hot food project devised to replace the annual Radiate Redditch will provide meals for the lonely, the town’s rough sleepers and those in need.
“It’s been a concerted effort based on what we’ve learned in lockdown,” said Liz.
“People struggling on their own or whose families are away and can’t visit, that’s where we’re trying to make an impact too.
“We can’t gather them up and give them great big hug so this is the next best thing.”