Christmas might seem an age away, but it’s time to launch our 2016 Christmas Hamper Appeal.
The initiative - sponsored again this year by the Community Awareness Programme (CAP), the Wakefield Express and the Rotary Club of Wakefield Chantry - is aiming to collect and pack 1,000 hampers of food and treats.
The target - which is the most ambitious one yet - will give 1,000 of the most needy families from across the district some well-deserved Christmas cheer.
Many families struggle to put food on the table at the best of times, but with the expense of the festive season and the absence of school dinners during the holidays, this can become particularly difficult.
And the hampers will help make things just that little bit easier for those less well off than ourselves in the larger Wakefield area.
Last year, thanks to the generosity of our readers, we were able to help more than 800 families - a record in itself - but this year we want, with your help, to break that record too.
Gemma Jimmison, appeal co-ordinator for the Express, said: “It’s an ambitious target, but families in our area are continuing to struggle and we want to help as many as we possibly can.
“Christmas should be about spending time with loved ones, fun and enjoyment, not about financial worries and sadness - so please help us make this appeal the best one yet.”
The hampers will be distributed again by the Early Help Hub network, which has seven hubs and 21 sites across Wakefield, Pontefract, Castleford, Hemsworth and South Elmsall.
The collection of food and hampers will be handled by CAP in Wood Street, Wakefield, while rotarians and volunteers will help pack the donated food into hampers.
Anybody who would like to donate can hand over a completed hamper, or individual donations of food ready to be packed up into a food parcel by rotarians and volunteers.
Basic hampers should include tea or coffee, sugar, long life milk, breakfast cereal, chocolate biscuits, tinned potatoes or instant mash, tinned vegetables, stuffing, tinned fruit, Angel Delight, fruit juice, chocolate or sweets. Suggested extras include tinned ham or corned beef, pasta, rice, meat paste, jam or marmalade, gravy mix, Pot Noodles, cup-a-soup and pasta in sauce.
Please do not include any fresh food and refrigerated items or alcohol in the hampers.
Food and completed parcels will be accepted up until November 25. The items will be packed up the following week ready for distribution to the Early Help Hubs, which will deliver the hampers to families before Christmas.
Bob Guard, from the Rotary Club of Wakefield Chantry, said: “As much or as little as you can give will be much appreciated. If you prefer to give a monetary donation that will also be gratefully received. CAP will be happy to receive it and, if you tell them it is for the Christmas Hamper Appeal, they will ensure that the money is used only for that purpose.
“Come on Wakefield – let’s get donating and make that target of 1,000 hampers to 1,000 needy families.”
CAP might also be able to collect from anyone who wishes to donate a number of hampers. For more information, call 01924 381119.