A Burton man who is currently receiving treatment for drug addiction has raised more than £500 for this year's Feed Our Families appeal after being helped by food banks when he was at his lowest point.

Ricky, who is currently undergoing a rehabilitation programme with the Burton Addiction Centre, went from a bright, successful young man with a busy job and responsibility into somebody seriously affected by drug addiction which eventually led to him losing his job and becoming homeless.

At his lowest point, Ricky felt that there was no hope of moving away from the situation he found himself in when he received a food parcel; this made him realise that somebody, somewhere DID care about him and had kindly donated food to make sure he didn't go hungry.

Ricky is pictured with Jimmy Barclay, RIOT co-ordinator for BAC O'Connor together with YMCA staff at the Reconnect centre

Ricky said: "At my low point, to receive a food parcel with something a little different in it, made me think that somebody cared.

"This gave me hope and I started to move towards recovery at that point, reaching out for help and coming to the BAC for support in moving forward.

"Now I am in abstinent recovery and I want to share that hope with others who are experiencing difficult times at the moment as well as encourage others to donate whatever they can to help support people less fortunate at this time of year."

Ricky has shown just how far he has come and how thankful he is to food banks in the town by raising £500.26 through donations from staff and families of other service users for the vital appeal.

Ricky used the donations to do a shop to benefit the four charities which will be helped by Feed Our Families.

Recovering addict Ricky said receiving a food parcel at his time of need gave him hope

Noreen Oliver, founder and managing director at BAC O'Connor, said: "We fully support this campaign and we know that a number of people who come to us for treatment have been in situations where they have been unable to afford food in the past.

"Our Family Group is also collecting donation as are Langan's Tea Rooms, our social enterprise based on George Street, which, together with Ricky's hard work to raise funds, means that BAC O’Connor can help to ensure that local families don’t go without food during the Christmas period."

The donation has been delivered to the YMCA's Reconnect centre and Paula Senior from YMCA Burton said the charity is "incredibly humbled" to hear about Ricky’s story and the hard work he has put in to raise this money.

She said: "His story is one of hope and inspiration for others who may be experiencing difficulties, that there is help available, and of course working hard in recovery to build a positive future while helping others through his Feed our Families collection.

"We are fortunate to live and serve in a very dedicated community and working collaboratively with other support providers and charities helps us all to provide the best support we can to some of the most vulnerable members in our town.

"Thank you Ricky and to everyone else who is supporting us."

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.

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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 with one day left where can you donate? We are appealing for people to buy one extra tin or packet of food and donate that. Of course, if you can afford more that would be brilliant.

There are drop-off points at Burton in Sainsbury's, in Union Street, and Sainsbury's, in Civic Way, Swadlincote.

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Editor Emma Turton delighted with response to appeal

"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 didn't ask people for money or to dig too deep for the appeal: instead we asked our readers to buy an extra tin or packet of food 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.

"I want to thank, in advance, every single reader who has donated to make sure the most needy in our communities have food in their cupboards this Christmas."

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What can I donate to Feed Our Families?

Items which you can donate:

  • UHT milk (500ml or 1 litre cartons or screw top bottles)
  • Coffee
  • Teabags
  • Sugar
  • 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
  • Soup
  • Baked beans
  • Spaghetti
  • Spaghetti hoops
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Rice
  • Savoury rice
  • Noodles
  • Pot Noodles
  • Rice pudding
  • Custard
  • Biscuits
  • Cereal bars
  • Crackers
  • Crisps
  • Chocolate
  • Jam