A Burton business which has thrived in the town for almost 25 years has made an impressive pledge as it backs the Burton Mail's Feed Our Families campaign.
Hardy Signs, which is based in Wetmore Road, has gone above and beyond for this year's appeal after organising a business breakfast where staff invited local companies to go along, enjoy tea and biscuits and make food donations for the cause to help the less fortunate this Christmas.
Managing director Nik Hardy, 48, said its support for the appeal was "going from strength to strength" and this year his team have been blown away by the response after the firm offered to act as a collection point for the appeal.
Mr Hardy, who lives in Bretby, said: "We want to let people know that Hardy Signs is here to help the local community; it is where we built the company and we feel as if we have a social responsibility to give something back.
"Our roots and employees are in Burton and we are at the forefront so it is important we take notice of what is going on in our town and help when we can and it will be families in Burton that are benefitting from this fantastic campaign.
"Last year was a real success and it is very important we use this campaign to support these four great charities and give back to the community, particularly at this time of year when people need it most."
Mr Hardy, who had his eyes opened to the plight of the less fortunate at a recent trip to Burton’s YMCA, said he has seen first-hand those helped by people’s generosity.
He said: "It is quite a humbling experience and I think there is no reason to not to support the appeal. This year we decided to reach out to our contacts and do something a bit different to source donations. We know that the more companies that get involved, the bigger difference it will make and you only have to look at the amount of donations people put in just to see how worthy a cause is.
"The campaign is going from strength to strength and it gets better every year with so many Burton companies looking to get involved. It is a pleasure to be a part of."
Mr Hardy said it is very sad that so many are struggling to make ends meet in modern day society.
He said: "I think most of us take it for granted that there will be food on the table at Christmas but for some people that is not the case and it is not straightforward. For most it is merely down to circumstance and any one can find themselves in a position of need at any time.
"When you look around and the business if doing well and other are not having a very good time, it makes you reflect and realise just how lucky we are.
"Ultimately, whatever people can give they should because if everybody gave a little it would amount to a lot and that is what is needed."
Attending the business breakfast were staff from Hardy Signs, Crescent Motors, Davies and Scothorn, Plain Design, QEP, Swinton Insurance, Parker and Son Printers, Spotless Cleaning, Fitness for Ladies Gym and Burton’s YMCA.
Feed Our Families is a campaign run by the Burton Mail to help local food banks feed families in Burton and South Derbyshire who may have fallen on hard times in the run-up to the festive period.
The campaign, which is in its fourth year, will be sharing all items donated between the South Derbyshire CVS, The Eaton Foundation, The Salvation Army in Burton and Burton's branch of the YMCA.
How can you donate to Feed Our Families?
For many people Christmas is a happy time, but for some it can be anything but.
A few pounds could be the difference between a family in need eating or going hungry. Just 50p could buy a tin of soup, and help keep a child warm. So where can you donate? We are appealing for people to pop one extra tin in their weekly shop and donate that. Of course, if you can afford more that would be brilliant.
There will be drop-off points at Burton in Sainsbury's, in Union Street, and Sainsbury's, in Civic Way, Swadlincote, with many more businesses soon expected to get involved.
If you are a pupil at a local school, check if there is a donation point there and if not, ask your teachers to get your school involved.
Punch Taverns is backing the campaign, as are schools including Granville Academy and Paulet High School.
We want you, our generous readers, to also donate, whether that be setting up a collection point at your youth club or in the pub. If you want to get involved, please contact reporter Rhea Turner on 01283 245047 or email email@example.com
And over the next few weeks we will bringing you stories of everyone who donates.
Editor Emma Turton calls for readers to back Feed Our Families
"After the incredible success of last year's Feed Our Families appeal it was a no-brainer that the Burton Mail would launch and run it again for 2017.
"We know finances are still tight for a lot of our readers, so we are not asking people for money or to dig too deep for the appeal: instead we are asking our readers to buy an extra tin or packet of food when they do their weekly shopping and drop it in to one of the collection points.
"We want to make sure the food banks in Burton and South Derbyshire have plenty of produce this Christmas, ready to be handed out to the people in our community who really need it this festive season.
"The response last year was phenomenal, the charities which shared the donations were overwhelmed with the generosity of our readers: we hope to match or beat last year when more than 15,000 items were donated.
"Already we have several schools, supermarkets and major employers in Burton and South Derbyshire on board.
"They have offered to set up donation boxes or run a donation day to boost the campaign. It really is fantastic to see, yet no surprise."
"I want to thank, in advance, every single reader who donates to make sure the most needy in our communities have food in their cupboards this Christmas."
What can I donate to Feed Our Families?
For those of you who have made the generous decision to give something to the needy this Christmas, you may be a bit unsure of just what the food banks are after to get the most out of the foods. Therefore we have produced a list of non-perishable items that will be gratefully received.
Items which you can donate:
- UHT milk (500ml or 1 litre cartons or screw top bottles)
- Breakfast cereal
- Tinned meals
- Tinned meat for Irish stew, chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognese, ravioli, macaroni cheese
- Tinned hot dogs
- Minced beef, curry, meatballs, etc
- Tinned pies
- Corned beef
- Tinned or packet vegetables
- Tinned fruit
- Tinned tuna, salmon, sardines, etc
- Baked beans
- Spaghetti hoops
- Pasta sauce
- Savoury rice
- Pot Noodles
- Rice pudding
- Cereal bars