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North Norfolk plea for aid at Christmas

PUBLISHED: 09:44 28 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:12 13 July 2010

ORGANISERS of a north Norfolk-based charity which feeds thousands of homeless people over the Christmas period are once again appealing for help.

Last year Buckingham Emergency Food Appeal (BEFA) volunteers distributed about £200,000 worth of donated food to Open Christmas projects, shelters, soup kitchens and women's refuges throughout East Anglia and the North West.

ORGANISERS of a north Norfolk-based charity which feeds thousands of homeless people over the Christmas period are once again appealing for help.

Last year Buckingham Emergency Food Appeal (BEFA) volunteers distributed about £200,000 worth of donated food to Open Christmas projects, shelters, soup kitchens and women's refuges throughout East Anglia and the North West.

Shelter staff have said they do not know how they would cope without the support and BEFA is urging north Norfolk residents, farmers, schools and businesses to rally round again and help make Christmas 2008 more hopeful for thousands of people.

As food and fuel prices escalate, BEFA trustees Peter and Polly Bowles have warned that many people are facing a hard winter.

This year BEFA hopes to expand the help it gives lonely and struggling people through church and other groups.

One Ipswich group estimates that it will need 300 more food parcels this Christmas compared to last year and the Salvation Army is also predicting greater need among poor families and pensioners it supports.

“Need often exists in our own villages,” say Mr and Mrs Bowles, of North Walsham. “Last year we made food available to church and pensioner groups to make into parcels for people in their communities.

“We would be pleased to discuss this if any of you would like to take this idea further for your neighbourhood.”

The charity began in 1985 when Mike Buckingham and his family, from Swafield, gathered about £750 worth of food from fellow Norfolk farmers and drove it to London's Crisis Open Christmas.

Nowadays an army of volunteers helps collect donations of everything from turkeys and Christmas puddings to fresh fruit and vegetables from a huge range of donors, including Norfolk schoolchildren who regularly donate bags of Silver Spoon sugar. Their donations are matched bag for bag by British Sugar.

Last year's BEFA effort was boosted by three articulated lorries full of soups, sauces and meat pies donated by Campbells in King's Lynn, whose plant has since closed.

For more information email: forBEFA@aol.com or ring 01692 407262.


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