Desperate plea to help feed Swindon's homeless as donations dry up

This Is Wiltshire: Jane Stewart with food and clothes donation tubs Jane Stewart with food and clothes donation tubs

FOOD donations are desperately needed to bring a heavy dose of Christmas cheer to Swindon’s homeless.

Last month the Brunel shopping centre launched a collection in a show of support for Christmas Care, a homeless shelter which welcomes people with nowhere to go during the holidays.

Despite a very promising start and bags of clothes and bedding dropped off by kind-hearted Swindonians, the campaign is currently experiencing a dry spell with hardly any food donated.

And with just eight days of collecting left, marketing manager Jane Stewart is calling on shoppers to remember the town’s destitute and hand over non-perishables and tins to ensure that Swindon’s forgotten hungry enjoy a tasty festive meal this Christmas.

“We had a real good response initially,” she said.

“People donated clothes and we had some bedding and some sleeping bags.

“People were very generous and also gave shampoo and toothpaste.

“I expected that getting food would be easier but we actually received a lot more clothes.

“The shelter is open for three days and we are trying to provide enough for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the day after. At the moment we’ve only got a day’s worth of food.

“We would really like people coming into the town centre to please just add an extra item of food to their basket. We are short of sandwich filling, snacks and biscuits and we have not got any hot chocolate.”

She added: “We get quite good donations over the weekend but during the week it does slow down – especially food.

“We just want to remind people not to forget to donate.”

Christmas Care has been running for 25 years at Queen’s Drive Methodist Church and provides shelter, care and companionship to more than 70 people every December.

The Brunel also hopes to raise money towards the running costs of the charity by selling reindeer food.

For a minimum donation of £1 visitors to Santa’s Grotto can purchase a bag of the treat for the children to leave out on Christmas Eve.

Yet so far it has only collected £200 out of its £500.

Tinned and packet food can be deposited in the collection bins on the first floor of the Brunel Plaza, next to the Christmas tree and Santa’s grotto until December 18.

Christmas Care also welcomes donations of games to help keep guests entertained during their stay.

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