Christmas food bank appeal launched to help Mid Ulster's most in need

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Trevor Wilson has pledged his support for the food bank appeal. He is pictured with, from back left, Heather Boyd (The Link, Maghera) and Anne Coney (SVP) and front, from left, Matt Graham (Vineyard Church), Luke Boyd (The Link, Maghera) and Jenny Thompson (Magherafelt Food Bank)

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Trevor Wilson has pledged his support for the food bank appeal. He is pictured with, from back left, Heather Boyd (The Link, Maghera) and Anne Coney (SVP) and front, from left, Matt Graham (Vineyard Church), Luke Boyd (The Link, Maghera) and Jenny Thompson (Magherafelt Food Bank)

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Although food banks have become a permanent fixture in the district all year round, the festive season hits families that are struggling to make ends meet particularly hard.

And that is why Mid Ulster District Council is throwing its support behind a food bank appeal this December with two drop-in donation events.

Working in partnership with a number of local charities - including SVP, Antioch Food Bank, The Link Maghera and the Magherafelt Food Bank (Trussell Trust) - the council hopes to help make Christmas a special time for everyone in the district.

Two food bank appeals will take place next week, when members of the public can donate anything from food and toiletries to selection boxes to help those worse off than themselves.

The first will take place on Thursday, December 8 at the Burnavon between 10-1pm and the second on Friday, December 9 at the Bridewell, Magherafelt at the same time.

As Christmas is the time for giving, the council is urging residents to get behind the appeal and donate what they can to help those struggling to put food on the table in this financially difficult time of year.

Recent statistics show that 1 in 5 people are now living below the poverty line in the UK, but you can help make a difference to the lives of children, families, older people and some of the most vulnerable people in our community by simply donating an item from your weekly shop.

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Trevor Wilson is supporting the appeal. He said: "While Christmas is a time of great cheer and is portrayed as ‘the

most wonderful time of the year’, unfortunately this is not the case for too many people living within our own district!

"There will be countless people who instead of looking forward to the present giving and fine dining will actually be dreading it because they simply can’t afford it.

"This is why I am fully supporting the council’s two food bank appeal events and I would urge everyone who can afford to donate an item or items to please do so.

"By giving a little, we could actually make someone else’s Christmas!"

Items especially welcome include soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes, toilet roll, cereal, coffee or tea, tinned foodstuff such as rice, custard, vegetables or meat, soups, pasta sauces, pasta or rice, long life juice, sponge pudding, jam, biscuits / snack bars, toys, nappies, baby food (packaged), and selection boxes.

The Vineyard Church in Dungannon also operates a food bank drop-in morning every Thursday from 10.30-1pm.

Also on December 9, Cookstown Primary School is hosting the annual Mid Ulster in Harmony school Christmas celebrations and all donations made by pupils, parents and teachers will go to the food bank appeal.

For more information on the appeal, the charities involved and how you can access the food collected, go to www.midulstercouncil.org/foodbank