AN APPEAL has been launched for seasonal food items by Caldicot Foodbank.

The appeal comes after the foodbank fed more than 300 people last December - more than a third of their annual total - with children accounting for nearly 50 per cent of this figure.

The foodbank has previously reported a hike in the numbers being helped, with changes to benefit payments, late payments and the bedroom tax just some of the issues that regularly confront people, they say. The recent donations of food by local schools and churches following Harvest celebrations has ensured they have a reasonable store of basic food, but now they are appealing for Christmas items. Typical Christmas items being sought include tinned ham or chicken roll, puddings, cake and mince pies. They are also hoping the public will donate Christmas chocolate selection boxes or advent calendars for the children, and Christmas crackers.

Commenting on this year’s appeal, foodbank vhairman David Flint, said: “Last year we found a lot of single parents struggled with debt as they tried to ensure their children wouldn’t miss out.

“What we were able to provide then, thanks to the generosity of local people, was a good selection of Christmas items - things that would ensure our clients are able to enjoy a happy Christmas - and in addition to our usual food parcel we’re hoping to repeat this.”

Caldicot Foodbank’s clients are referred by professional agencies such as housing associations, Job Centre Plus and community nurses. All clients must produce a voucher provided by an agency in order to receive the help required.

Caldicot Foodbank collection points may be found in local churches, both ASDA and Waitrose supermarkets, Caldicot Library, and Caldicot Town Council offices in Sandy Lane.

In addition, the Caldicot Food Bank will, thanks to the congregation of the Church of St Stephen and St Teilo in Caerwent, be able to invite clients to a free Christmas lunch on Christmas Day. The meal will be held at 1pm on Sunday 25th December in Caerwent Village Hall.

Caerwent Church’s invite is to anyone who seeks company and friendship on Christmas Day. Those wishing to find out more about this meal should contact Pavla Boulton on telephone number 01291 424285.