Christmas is three months off but the volunteers at the Gatehouse charity are already packing the seasonal hampers they will hand out.
With 350 to pack, the Bury St Edmunds charity has to start early and the start coincides with schools and churches having their harvest festivals.
Many donate tinned and packet foods to Gatehouse for its hampers and food bank. As well as saving the organisations from making up and distributing hampers, it means the recipients benefit.
Gatehouse chief executive Amanda Bloomfield said: “You’re always going to get lots of pasta and beans but we can mix it together and make a balanced collection of items.”
Amanda will visit school assemblies before harvest festivals to explain the process and how donations help the community. Her volunteers wrap tomato boxes, donated by British Sugar, in Christmas paper before packing them for distribution in December.
Donations to the food bank are needed year round and it is supported by Asda shoppers and organisations including the Women’s Institute, schools, clubs and offices.
Gatehouse also has an Christmas Day lunch at St Benedicts School for anyone alone that day, of any age.
Amanda said: “We would like to hear of anyone who is on their own at Christmas. We have volunteers who come every year, but help with transport on the day is good.”
If you can help or donate, call Amanda on 01284 754967 or firstname.lastname@example.org
nAmong those supporting Gatehouse is the White Stuff fashion store in Abbeygate Street, whose staff raised £45 by wearing fancy dress and selling home made cakes during a 20 per cent off day last Thursday. On October 9 they have a Top of the Pots homemade jam and chutney contest when White Stuff will donate £10 for every jar entered.