Hebburn Helps food bank founders’ thank you as more than 5,000 toys handed out to hundreds of children in South Tyneside this Christmas

The founders of a food bank have said a big thank you after handing out more than 5,000 toys to over 700 children in South Tyneside this Christmas.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 6:00 am

Hebburn Helps, based in Campbell Park Road, has released its latest figures for 2019, including all those who were helped by the service throughout the festive period.

This year 5,217 toys were handed out to 739 children in the borough, a rise of almost 20% from 2018 when 4,400 were distributed to just over 400 kids.

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Hebburn Helps founders Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin have revealed they handed out 5,217 toys to 739 children in South Tyneside this Christmas.

Volunteers also gave out 234 food hampers and 195 Christmas dinners, up from 170 dinners last year.

Angie said: “The number of toys and bikes that were donated this year was huge and so many businesses got involved.

“We are so grateful for people’s generosity and for all the support. We can give up the time but if people didn’t donate we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”

Sharon and Mick Ford Co directors of F M Coatings (centre) donated dozens of items of food, clothing, toiletries and toys to Hebburn Helps in December.

She continued: “It’s mixed emotions because the fact that it is needed at all is awful, but the thought of all those little ones waking up on Christmas Day with presents to open and a Christmas dinner to eat, is priceless.”

From January-December 2019 Hebburn Helps has handed out 4,299 emergency food parcels and free surplus food bags which are given out every Friday, as well as providing 849 breakfasts and hot lunches for kids during the school holidays through the Grub Club.

The coming year will see Angie and Jo concentrate on the initiative, which takes the pressure of parents during the school holidays, introducing exercise and outdoor activities for children.

“We just want to say a massive well done to the full team who we couldn’t work without and every single person who got stuck in this year and did their bit,” Angie added.

The Grub Club end of summer party in August 2019, at St Oswalds Church Hall, Hebburn.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what the year ahead holds.”