Find out how last year's project went.
We did it! 200 hampers were packed and distributed to help local families in crisis celebrate Christmas together. We are so grateful to the dozens of partner groups who supported the project by nominating families, pledging food, recruiting drivers and sponsoring hampers. Many others deserve special thanks including:
- Nationwide, who turned their basement into a warehouse and provided teams of volunteers to pack the hampers
- Foresters Financial, who donated £2,000 to enable us to include fresh veg and meat in the hampers
- AFC Bournemouth, who helped us promote the project
- Nurturing by Nature, who loaned us 70 polystyrene boxes so we could keep food chilled
- Bournemouth University Student Union, who wrapped and decorated the hampers beautifully
- Citygate Church, who facilitated a lot of the vital administration of the project
- Booker Wholesale and County Foods, who went out of their way to ensure we received the food we needed
- Bournemouth Echo and Radio Solent, who helped us get our message out
On Thursday 20 December, 60 drivers delivered 190 hampers to the door. The remaining hampers were held in reserve by local agencies for distribution to those who were especially struggling over the Christmas period. By our count at least 650 people were provided for. Each hamper contained enough to feed a family of 5 for 3 days and included all the Christmas goodies and a Message of Hope from the Bible:
The success of the project can be attributed to five areas that we managed to get right (more often by luck, than skill):
A close partnership with other agencies
We networked with 24 different local agencies to identify families in crisis. These included social services, healthcare, charities and churches all working on the frontline with families to help restore to them a greater degree of independence and dignity. We also liaised with other hamper projects like Hope for Food and the Basket Brigade, to ensure that together we are being as effective as possible in reaching those in need.
Generous contributions from partner groups
An amazing 24 businesses, community groups and churches pledged a total of 5,270 food items to fill the hampers. It was great to see each group take ownership of a particular aspect of the project by focusing on a single item and delivering that aspect in it’s entirety. Some were embarrassed when they counted up their tins, packets or boxes and realised that they had over delivered – fantastic news for us, since sadly the need for food carries on into the new year and beyond.
A dedicated team of volunteers
The hamper packers at Nationwide took great pride in their work and it was a challenge to prevent them from making more than their quota of hampers! As always, the fleet of drivers were diligent to a fault – returning to the same address if the client wasn’t home and otherwise going beyond the call of duty to ensure their hampers were delivered correctly. As a result, we managed a record 96% success rate on the day. Many other volunteers played their part in the lead up to and during the event and it would be difficult to name them all, but you know who you are!
A great response to the Sponsor a Hamper campaign
28 people sponsored 70 hampers gifting a total of £1,558.12. This was an amazing response to the new campaign, which is aimed to make the project accessible to a wider audience who want to contribute, but don’t have time to volunteer or collect food. In all, we received £4,868.22 through sponsorship, grants and other gifts. This helped cover various costs including staffing, building hire, vehicle expenses and other items like a weatherproof shelter at the collection point. A massive thank you to all that gave financially.
Some fantastic media engagement
The project proved popular among the local media and even received some attention on Facebook and Twitter as well. The Daily Echo ran articles before and after the event, and BBC Radio Solent gave us two live interviews on their drive time show. It was helpful to receive a celebrity endorsement from AFC Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson and to have the welcome addition of the Mayor and his wife to our delivery team!
If you were involved in the project and haven’t shared your experience, please use the Give Feedback form to help us improve things for next year.
Talking of next year, why not register your interest in partnering with us this Christmas.
We’re also recruiting a team to help make this Christmas special for more families in crisis. If that sounds like something you would be interested in, please consider applying.