Hemel Hempstead staff donate 61kg of food and essentials to food bank for Christmas

Housing association staff donated 61kg of food, toiletries and household essentials to a Hemel Hempstead food bank, helping those struggling over the festive season.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 11:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 3:55 pm

DENS Dacorum Foodbank - run in partnership with the Trussell Trust – plans to use Hightown Housing's donation for 70 emergency parcels to individuals and families in the area.

Hightown works closely with the food bank, supporting tenants to access its service during times of crisis.

Chloe Baxter, tenancy sustainment officer at Hightown, said: “We are in regular contact with our most vulnerable residents and help to direct them to services such as DENS when they are facing financial hardship.

Chloe and Natalie from Hightown and Michelle from DENS Foodbank

"Often residents aren’t aware of what support is available out there. The foodbank provides a lifeline for many local people, so the staff at Hightown were keen to do their bit to help.”

The DENS Foodbank saw a 16 per cent increase in people accessing its service in the last financial year, including homeless people, families unable to feed their children during the summer holidays and those affected by job loss or changes to benefit payments.

Fran Martin, head of fundraising and communications at the charity, said she was "thrilled" with the response to their Reverse Advent Appeal from businesses, individuals, and schools.

She said: "Back in the Summer, our shelves were almost depleted of items, and we were giving out more food parcels than the amount of food donations we were receiving.

"December paints a much healthier picture; in fact, this week on Monday and Tuesday alone, we've received a whopping 3967 kgs of food via 60 separate donations and today is proving to be even busier."

She added: "On behalf of everyone at DENS I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to each and every person in Dacorum who have bought items food items as well as financial donations.

"There are so many Businesses and Schools and people to mention that it's almost impossible for us to thank you all personally. Your contribution will ensure that we have enough food parcels to feed all those facing poverty for the entire year - Thank You."

Food and other donations are sorted by a dedicated team of volunteers, with a proportion of items going to the DENS day centre for its hot meal drop-in service and to The Elms night shelter.

The charity also makes up around 60 special hampers which it distributes on Christmas Eve to vulnerable members of the community nominated by other local charities and organisations.