Comedian and Hollywood star Russell Brand is the latest to back the Burton Mail’s Feed Our Families campaign after being inspired while visiting the town.
The actor, radio presenter and author has urged people to get behind the appeal, which aims to collect food to feed the hungry in Burton and South Derbyshire over the Christmas period.
This year, it has been decided that donations, including tins of food and packets of pasta donated by readers, will be distributed between four vital causes which work tirelessly to support those in society who need a helping hand. The Burton Mail's Feed Our Families campaign is in its fourth year and aims to make sure the food banks are well stocked so that no struggling family goes without the the basics of food at Christmas
The charities which will get donations are Burton YMCA and South Derbyshire Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) in Swadlincote, as well as Burton’s Salvation Army and The Eaton Foundation, which are based in Burton.
Last year was the most successful Feed Our Families campaign ever, with a record 15,000 food items feeding around 1,000 families over Christmas, thanks to Burton Mail readers.
This year it is more important than ever as food banks in Burton and South Derbyshire are being used more and more as families struggle to make ends meet.
The star, who was in town to sign copies of his new book for fans on Tuesday, November, 21, said he was delighted to back the appeal. The 41-year-old said: "It is really important to help those in need and it's a great cause."
He is a long-time supporter of the Burton Addiction Centre, having battled his own drink and drugs demons. Noreen Oliver, founder of the addiction centre (BAC), said she felt it was important that the centre backs Feed Our Families too. She said: "We will be getting a Feed Our Families box together again here at the BAC.
"It is especially important to us because we see a number of families who are vulnerable – through their own or their parents’ alcohol or drug use – and they tend to struggle with food financially.
"This is a way of making sure we are able to get food into those homes."
Also backing the appeal for the fourth year running is Branston Golf and Country Club, which is seeking to beat last year's record amount collected.
The donations racked up by club members last year were described by Paul Laffey, chief executive of Burton YMCA, as "a mountain of food that I believe is a record amount and the most we have received from any organisation - only beaten by Burton's biggest schools."
Barbara Melidone, reception manager at the club, said: "For the fourth year running our staff , members and guests at Branston Golf and Country Club have been invited to give generously to the collection organised in aid of the Burton YMCA and South Derbyshire's CVS Food Banks, as well as The Eaton Foundation and Salvation Army, raising awareness of those organisations and providing support for families in need of immediate help at Christmas and throughout the year.
"Already bags of food, tins and tasty items are mounting up at our reception and we are hoping for another record amount."
Mr Laffey, said: "It is brilliant news that Branston Club have signed up again to the Burton Mail's Feed our Families campaign. I am always amazed at the generosity of their customers and I have already booked a date at Branston to receive this year's donations."
Ben Laing, managing director of the club whose motto is 'An Outstanding Club Where Friendship and Good Health go Hand in Hand', said: "Typical of the enthusiasm of our staff and kindness of our members, for which Branston Club is famous. Everyone gives so generously to the food banks at this busy time of year and we are hoping for another record collection."
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 are overflowing with 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."
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?
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 teachers to get your school involved.
Over the next few weeks we will bringing you stories of everyone who donates.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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