How you can help South Tyneside families this festive season as Hebburn Helps food bank launch Christmas appeal

A South Tyneside food bank is preparing for its busiest time of year as its annual Christmas appeal gets underway.

By Sarah Sinclair
Thursday, 14th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 14th November 2019, 12:59 pm

Hebburn Helps, based at Campbell Park Road Children’s Centre has launched a number of appeals to help hard-up families this festive season.

Last year the team handed out hundreds of food hampers and Christmas dinners and more than 4,000 new toys to children across the borough.

This Christmas, residents can help in a number of ways, including taking part in the reverse advent calendar scheme, which sees people donate an item every day in the countdown to December 25.

Hebburn Helps founders Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin launch their annual Christmas appeal.

They are also accepting donations of small turkey crowns, potatoes and vegetables so that vulnerable families can enjoy a turkey dinner on Christmas Day and chocolate selection boxes to go to local children and women’s shelters.

The team will once again be making up ‘blessing bags’ to give out to the homeless, including hats, gloves, socks, toiletries and sanitary products and as part of their ‘Christmas for Critters’ appeal are asking for gifts for pets, such as bags of treats and cheap blankets to be given out to dogs on the streets.

They will also be ensuring that no child wakes up on Christmas morning with an empty stocking as their toy appeal is looking for donations of affordable gifts or unopened presents from last year and people to sponsor bikes for a number of vulnerable children.

“Throughout the year we have gradually got busier, so we’re expecting it to be busier than last Christmas, but we have a separate unit now that we run operation Christmas from and donations are coming in thick and fast,” said co-founder Angie Comerford.

Angie Comerford co-founder of Hebburn Helps launches their Christmas appeal to help pets on the streets.

“For some of the children this might be the only toy that they get. It could be your neighbour or the person your standing next to in the school yard and it means a great, great deal to these families, it’s a bit of a lifeline for some people.”

All donations can be taken to Hebburn Helps on Campbell Park Road or find a drop-off point by contacting 0191 489 9707.

Donations for pets can also be left at Animal Antics in Hebburn New Town.