Friends join forces to help families in need

Friends are the family we choose – and with great friends by your side, amazing things can be achieved.

Monday, 11th January 2021, 3:45 pm

That’s certainly true for pals Michelle Clarke, Diane Ireland and Grace Hall, all residents of Newton with Scales, who raised £6,145 for a food hamper campaign for local families in need.

The trio gifted 100 local families with a fantastic food hamper this Christmas.

But they’re not going to stop there.

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Friends Michelle Clarke, Grace Hall and Diane Ireland, from Newton with Scales, organised food donations

There are now planning more fundraising to help families throughout 2021.

Michelle, Diane and Grace set up a GoFundMe page, at the start of November, to help the local families in the community that they knew were struggling to survive.

Michelle said “We were really concerned at the beginning of the last lockdown that many more people would find themselves out of work again and be unable to afford a Christmas meal

with their loved ones this year.

Sponsors/food suppliers for food donations are pictured from left to right: Oli Marsden, Michael Chippendale, Damian Clarke, Phil Salthouse, Adam Gregson, Charlotte Fare and Annie Fare

“We are aware of so many locals who can barely afford to feed their families day to day.”

Garnering support from local people and businesses, the friends managed to raise over £6,000 in total to ensure that 100 families who are most in need, from within the Kirkham and

district areas, had a Christmas hamper delivered to their home in time for Christmas Day.

Diane, a volunteer at the local food bank, said “The foodbank mainly provides ambient goods for families in need but there are restrictions on the number of times a family can visit and

receive food.

“My biggest concern was the lack of fresh meat and fresh fruit and vegetables.

“Some of the families hadn’t had any for over six months.”

Grace added: “We’re extremely grateful to have the support of several local businesses to provide food for the hampers at cost price or heavily discounted.

“Graham Eyes butchers generously provided the meat and Annie’s Egg Shed provided all the vegetables and eggs.

“We also received generous cash donations from Pete Marquis Contractors and HMP Kirkham Prison.”

Each hamper contained £50 worth of food to feed a family of four to six, included a 2.5kg turkey, a large ham, pigs in blankets, potatoes, sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, satsumas,

half a dozen eggs, chocolates, Christmas pudding, biscuits and a £10 gift voucher.

The fundraising trio contacted local primary schools and food banks to help identify families in need.

Now Michelle, Diane and Grace intend to continue the fundraising campaign indefinitely so they can continue to help families with fresh meat and fresh fruit and vegetables all year round,

by inviting people to regularly donate each month.

Michelle added: “We’ve halted the Christmas fundraising for now as we’re focusing on a new fundraiser for Easter.

“We will do another one in the summer holidays and then refocus on Christmas 2021.

“In the Christmas 2020 fundraiser, we had budgeted for £5,000 of expenses but only spent £4,400 so we’re using the funds left over to support families in the interim period with fresh meat

and fresh vegetables.

“We received some beautiful messages from families and the organisations who received our hampers.

“Some of the stories were very sad though, from families who had no heating on and no other fresh food.”

A new website for the Easter campaign will be ready later this month.

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