CHRISTMAS gifts were delivered to hundreds of deprived children who would have otherwise have gone without, thanks to a Burton charity.
Salvation Army volunteers delivered 499 presents to children, 175 Christmas food parcels and 82 emergency food parcels to vulnerable East Staffordshire families in December – a month which one worker described as ‘sheer chaos’.
The presents, donated from schools, churches and well-wishers, were passed on to families referred to their service.
Vik Wileman, who works with the emergency food provider in Burton, said: “You would expect December to be a little busier because of Christmas – it was sheer chaos.
“In refuges we deal with the people there have next to nothing and there are children involved in most of the cases.
“So donating the presents was a chance to say that someone out there cares.”
Demand for emergency food parcels has roughly doubled in the last 12 months.
In November the Mail reported concerns that children were going hungry in the town.
Mr Wileman said the rise in demand was down to a higher profile of ‘food banks’ in the media and the Government’s welfare reforms.
He said: “Their profile has made it easier for desperate people to ask for help, but we have to remember that most of the people are too proud to admit they need help.
“And, yes, there are changes in the welfare system, which can leave people without an income for a week or two.”
The Salvation Army runs its emergency food operation in Moseley Street, Burton.
Donations of non-perishable and tinned goods can be made at the Sainsbury’s store in Union Street, Burton.