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“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Steve Maraboli

December marked the second year of partnership between the Luton Irish Forum and Luton Foodbank’s Christmas collections and to celebrate we aimed to go above and beyond our target last year, aiming to donate over £500 worth of food to the charity.  Last year, the Forum raised over £350 in donations and food, but this year staff aimed to raise even more awareness of poverty in Luton, with staff members Heather Roy (Trainee Welfare Officer) and Brogan Lewis (Student Placement) promoting the cause.

Chief Officer of Luton Irish Forum, Noelette Hanley said: “The rate of poverty in Luton is rising rapidly, and with the launch of the Welfare Reform in 2012, thousands of families and workers are left living on the breadline.”

Social Work Student Placement, Brogan Lewis said: “We spoke with the groups about donating an item of food and we held a raffle with the Tuesday and Wednesday club to raise money for the cause. We also created posters and leaflets and spoke to all the groups about what we were trying to do, which inspired generous donations from clients, staff and the public, both food and money.”

Luton Foodbank has seen a 46% increase in the usage of their service within the last year, with nearly 800 people receiving food parcels in September 2016 alone.

Project Coordinator for the Luton Foodbank, Salma Khan said: “In the past few months, the Foodbank has sent out an average of over 140 parcels a week. For many of the people we help, Christmas is one of the hardest times of the year. Christmas is about giving, not receiving, so we asked people in Luton to donate food for those in need.”

During the 2015 Christmas campaign, communities throughout Luton took the time to gather food for the less fortunate, with one good samaritan donating two trolleys worth of food to the Luton Irish Forum drop-off point. Asking everyone to bring along some food or drink to go towards the Foodbank at his Christmas house party, the man donated enough cereals, cans of food and biscuits to feed a few hungry families last Christmas.

Welfare Officer at L.I.F., Mary Fitzmaurice said: “No one should be hungry at Christmas. Oftentimes when December comes around, people get caught up in planning the dinner and doing the present shopping, and forget what really matters – each other.”

For more information about Luton Irish Forum please contact us on: 01582 720447 or email us on: info@lutonirishforum.org

For more information about what products are appropriate to donate, please visit the Luton Foodbank website on: http://lutonfoodbank.org.uk/give-food-list/

LUTON IRISH FORUM FEEDS THE HUNGRY AT CHRISTMAS