Giving something back this Christmas

The overwhelming goodwill and the generous outpouring of gifts and treats we have enjoyed are being repaid by a special Christmas appeal.

Staff at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Hospital Foundation Trust are being encouraged to donate food, sweet treats, toiletries and toys to local foodbanks to help struggling families enjoy Christmas.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trust has received countless messages of support and a huge array of gifts, from individuals dropping by with boxes of chocolates to local food businesses kindly providing dozens of free meals every week.

In the spirit of ‘paying it forward’ staff have been collecting for the local Stockton & Billingham and Hartlepool foodbanks, operated by the Trussell Trust, since the start of the summer.

• Giving something back this Christmas – donated Christmas trimmings

This ongoing appeal has now been expanded to include Christmas gifts for children, toiletries and even the ‘trimmings’ for a Christmas meal.

Barbara Bright, director of corporate affairs and chief of staff, said: “The support and sheer love heaped upon the NHS has been nothing short of incredible. We wanted to give some of that love and support back.

“Helping some of our region’s most disadvantaged families was something many of us felt strongly about, so we set up drop-off points around our hospitals for staff to leave donations. Our brilliant team of volunteers regularly pick up the donations and take them to the foodbanks.

“With Christmas around the corner, we contacted the foodbanks and they told us that they also distribute toiletries and gifts to local families. We thought we could encourage staff to help out at

Christmas by buying some extra toys and cosmetics, and perhaps also provide some tins of potatoes, packets of stuffing mix and cans of vegetables to round out a Christmas meal.

“The executive management team has even decided to skip our usual Secret Santa gifts and donate to the foodbanks instead.”

Lisa Lavender, co-ordinator of the Hartlepool foodbank said: “We’re really pleased the Trust is helping us out.

“Christmas can be a really tough time for many families in our region so this donation drive will make a huge difference.”

• Giving something back this Christmas – donated toys

To donate to the Stockton & Billingham and Hartlepool foodbanks, simply drop off your donations at the foodbanks following the safety measures in place or make a donation online.

Stockton & Billingham Foodbank
4-6 West Precinct
Billingham Town Centre
TS23 2NH

Hartlepool Foodbank
28 Church Street
TS24 7DH

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