More than 600 items were dropped off at the Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth foodbanks this week, donated by staff and students at East Coast College to support families in need this Christmas.

East Coast has been supporting the FE Foodbank Friday initiative along with other colleges across the country since the first national lockdown, donating just over £2,000 to the same local foodbanks back in October to provide them with a much-needed financial boost ahead of the busy winter months.

Since then, East Coast College and Lowestoft Sixth Form College have been collecting items of non-perishable food and drink through the Festive FE Foodbank Friday scheme. The items were then split between both local foodbanks and dropped off in time to benefit families in need of extra support over the festive period.

Volunteers from the Great Yarmouth Foodbank with the donation of food from East Coast College. Photo East Coast College.
Volunteers from the Great Yarmouth Foodbank with the donation of food from East Coast College. Photo East Coast College.

Liz Townson, distribution centre manager for the Great Yarmouth Foodbank which has three distribution centres in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth, said: “We are still very busy and demand is increasing all the time. We are very sorry that people are struggling during Christmas, and Covid is still causing so many job losses.

“The community has been marvellous in supporting us and we want to say a big thank you to all the students and staff who have donated items. It’s lovely that they are thinking about other families in need during this time.”

Sam Porter, Operations Manager for Lowestoft Foodbank, with the donation. Photo East Coast College.
Sam Porter, Operations Manager for Lowestoft Foodbank, with the donation. Photo East Coast College.

Sam Porter, Operations Manager for Lowestoft Foodbank, said: “We are feeding about 850 people a month at the moment. Winter is always busier but we are still up about 30% from last year.

“This donation is brilliant because it means that we don’t have to scrape the barrel to feed people and we can give them more than they need which is a really nice feeling.”

As well as the food donation, staff at Lowestoft Sixth Form College also raised £350 which will be donated to the Lowestoft Foodbank to provide a further festive boost.

And this week East Coast College staff have been completing a ‘Santa Dash’ as part of the same Festive FE Foodbank Friday campaign, dressing up in festive outfits to complete a run, walk, cycle or any other dash of their choice in return for donations to a national JustGiving page.

Stuart Rimmer, CEO of East Coast College, who completed a 10km Santa Dash for the foodbanks. Photo James Bass.
Stuart Rimmer, CEO of East Coast College, who completed a 10km Santa Dash for the foodbanks. Photo James Bass.

CEO and Principal Stuart Rimmer, who completed his own 10km dash dressed as Santa, said: “We are pleased to be able to support our communities during these challenging times and I am proud of all our staff and students for making a real difference this Christmas. We know how important the work of our local foodbanks are, and we’re pleased to be ending this year with some positive news.”

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