Students join forces with charity to donate food hampers to needy families

Students at Bishop Auckland College have joined forces with a North-East charity to donate food hampers for needy local families.

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Young people on the college’s Aspire programme are running an eight-week joint campaign with Feeding Families to collect as much food as they can.

They have been contacting local businesses to ask permission to put a donation box in their premises, and this week scored their first success with the Sainsbury's Newton Aycliffe store which has donated £200 worth of food to the project.

Other firms who have agreed to support the initiative include Thames Fruit & Veg in Newton Aycliffe, DSM in Newton Aycliffe, PCP in Newton Aycliffe and Hewitts Solicitors in Bishop Auckland.

The college is also collecting food donations and a box bearing campaign branding designed by the students is in the main reception.

All food collected will be taken by the students to Feeding Families’ central hub in Blaydon on March 22, where they will be working in the packing centre for the day to pack and distribute their donations.

The collaboration came about after tutor Laura Carrick contacted Feeding Families to see if the students could help. Communications & Fundraising Manager Sarah McPhie been running sessions with the students at the college to support them to get the project started.

Communications & Fundraising Assistant Rachel Lister has also worked with the students the college’s designer Sean Keeble to create a campaign logo and flyers for businesses taking part to display.

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Laura said: “It all started when I saw Feeding Families advertising their Youth Project and got in touch with them to see if it would be suitable for the students. The students are running a food drive campaign over eight weeks and have been getting in touch with local businesses to ask permission to put a donation box in their premises.

“We are very grateful to staff at Sainsbury's Newton Aycliffe store who have donated £200 worth of food to the project which we have already collected. We have not set a target - the students just want to collect as much food as possible.”

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About Feeding Families

Feeding Families’ work started in 2016 as a personal project, providing Christmas hampers to a small number of families in desperate need over the festive period.

In October 2017 Feeding Families as an organisation was truly born when a request went out on social media to find people interested in participating in the Christmas hamper scheme – and the response was overwhelming!

The concept evolved and grew year-on-year, and by December 2019 the charity was organising hampers for more than 3,000 families affected by food poverty across the North-East.

In 2020, Feeding Families rose to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic and, in partnership with other regional charities and organisation, began to supply weekly food packages to those most vulnerable.

Its Emergency Food Boxes provide food that will support two people for three days. Today, Feeding Families operates 365 days of the year, with two packaging centres, one in Byers Green, Spennymoor, and the second in Blaydon, Gateshead.

Its army of 3,000 volunteers help to provide emergency food boxes for some 1,000 people each month. Over the past year more than 160,000 meals have been donated.

To find out how you can donate food to Feeding Families visit