FOODBANK leaders in Hartlepool have praised allotment holders who were asked to pledge some veg after an amazing response.
Growers across the town donated an impressive 55 large boxes of produce bursting with fresh vegetables.
They answered an appeal to donate surplus produce to Hartlepool Foodbank by supporting Hartlepool Borough Council’s Big Christmas Dinner Challenge.
It was also run in partnership with the Allotments’ Tenants Focus Group and the town’s Waverley Terrace Community Allotment.
Kate Ainger, Hartlepool Borough Council environmental projects officer, said: “We invited allotment holders to ‘pledge some veg’ and the response was amazing.
“We would like to thank everyone who contributed for their invaluable support.
“It is great to know that the Big Christmas Dinner Challenge is really going to make a difference to a significant number of families.”
Empty boxes were donated by Fruit Fayre in Oxford Road and were filled with vegetables including potatoes, onions, carrots, leeks, beetroot, swede, sprouts, rosemary, cabbage and marrows before being delivered to the foodbank for distribution.
Each box also included an information pack with suggested recipes and advice from the Love Food Hate Waste campaign on how to make the most of the produce.
Al Wales, Hartlepool Foodbank co-ordinator, said: “There was a fantastic response from allotment holders and we would like to pass on our heartfelt thanks. It was brilliant to be able to give out fresh vegetables.
“We gave some of the boxes to people who sought help directly from us and others were distributed amongst our partner charities.”
Allotment sites which contributed to the appeal were Nicholson Field, Thornhill, Throston, Chester Road, Briarfields, Burn Valley, Woodcroft, Summerhill, Haswell, Rossmere and Waverley Terrace.
Staff and volunteers at the Waverley Terrace Community Allotment, which offers opportunities to children and adults with physical and learning disabilities, and people with mental health problems, also helped to collect, sort and pack the donations.
Since January, Hartlepool Food Bank, part of the Trussell Trust foodbank network, has fed 4,357 people since it was started. This month alone it has supported 290 people, 89 of whom were children.