Education Partnership North East is joining colleges across the country to support those most in need this Christmas.
With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to have a significant social and economic impact on so many people, foodbanks across the country are reporting a huge rise in demand.
To help their communities, Hartlepool Sixth Form, Northumberland College and Sunderland College are working with colleges nationwide to collect 30,000 items for local foodbanks as part of the #FEFestiveFoodbankFriday campaign.
In addition, a Just Giving page has been launched with the aim of reaching a £12,000 fundraising target.
Funds from this will be divided up between all of the colleges involved and distributed to their local foodbanks.
Collection bins for food and other non-food donations will be placed across Education Partnership North East’s campuses, encouraging staff and students to donate food items where they can.
The colleges will also be publishing regular lists of the most needed items from the local foodbanks, to make sure donations are as helpful as possible.
Ruth Magnus, Director of Student Services, said: “Our colleges are at the very heart of their communities and we are proud to pledge our support to the FE Festive Foodbank Friday.
“No one should be going hungry, but our foodbanks are reporting huge increases in demand due to the ongoing pandemic with an estimated 500,000 people in the UK now reliant on food parcels.
“We are calling on our students, staff and the wider community to come together and help those who need it most in the run up to Christmas.”
Earlier this year, Education Partnership North East donated unused stock from campus refectories to Sunderland Foodbank and Wansbeck Valley Foodbank, to be distributed to vulnerable people and families in crisis after its colleges moved to remote learning.
Access to Higher Education students also organised a collection drive for food, toiletries and other household essentials to boost emergency parcels which were handed out throughout the North East to those facing increasing hardship.
FE Festive Foodbank Friday follows a successful campaign led by London South East College throughout lockdown which saw 30 colleges raise thousands for foodbanks around the country.
Sam Parrett, Group CEO of London & South East Education Group, added: “As the pandemic continues to impact so many people, it is imperative that we pull together to support one another.
“Christmas can be a very difficult time for many people and our aim is to help make it a bit easier for families in our communities.
“We very much hope we will receive the same amazing support that we did for our previous foodbank campaign, which saw over £40,000 raised for foodbanks.
“After such a tough year, this support is much needed.”
To make an online donation, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/FestiveFEFoodbankFriday.
If you require immediate help from your local foodbank, call Citizen’s Advice on 01429 408401 (Hartlepool), 0344 411 1444 (Northumberland) or 0300 330 1194 (Sunderland)