Garden centre runs free Santa supper for families using food bank
PUBLISHED: 16:33 22 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:33 22 December 2019
A town's garden centre organised an event to give struggling families 'a little bit of magic' this Christmas, as a food bank reveals an increase in demand for its services.
Thetford food bank, part of The Trussell Trust, which is located at the Charles Burrell Centre, revealed that this year it has seen a 40pc increase in people using the charity.
Steph Williams, volunteer development officer at the food bank said: "Over the last year we have seen an increase across all food banks in the trust including at the Attleborough, Watton and Brandon centres.
"We have seen a lot of families this year especially over the holidays because children aren't at school, they aren't getting their meals provided.
"It makes a massive difference when they can't attend breakfast club and don't have free school meals."
It's because of this Thetford Garden Centre got in contact with the charity to offer families using the food bank a space at their 'Supper with Santa' event, which gave children an opportunity to have a free meal and story time with the big man himself.
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Ms Williams added: "Families who don't have the money don't get to go and see Santa unless it's going around in the streets.
"Unfortunately, these children are missing out and that's something we would love to do through the food bank by connecting with local businesses."
The event was organised by Marie Turner, operations manager at the garden centre, and Claire Dear, manager of the Lime Kiln Kitchen.
Ms Dear said: "We ran a supper with Santa night for the food bank so that children and families out there, who maybe couldn't afford it, were still able to have that little bit of magic.
"It was wonderful the children were happy and excited they enjoyed a story with Santa.
"Food banks are a lifeline for so many people out there. We live in Thetford which is quite a small town everyone knows each other and it's sad to know that there are people you probably know having to go and seek help."
All together 28 spaces were filled from families from the food bank and they attended the event on Tuesday, December 17.
Ms Turner said: "Parents are struggling to get presents for their children and even food on their table so we wanted to get involved in the community and we thought this would be a lovely gift to give to families."