Volunteers from Crisis at Christmas in the kitchen - Marie Piper and Carol Wraight
The Island’s Crisis at Christmas campaign helped more families in need than ever this year.
The appeal, which has been going for more than 20 years, dispatched more than 30 food parcels to homes across Sheppey so they could celebrate Christmas in their own homes.
Organiser Betty Boswell said there was a steep rise in the amount of people who needed help with their energy bills this year.
Volunteers went out to the homes of 15 people to top up their gas and electric.
She said: “It was either a toss up between heating or eating.
“Some of them had no decorations, no food, no presents.
“It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time to think that you could help.”
The annual Christmas Day and Boxing Day meals at Community Church Sheppey each saw a turnout of about 20 people, which included about 10 clients of Age Concern who had been referred to the charity.
Joining them were people who would have otherwise been alone and one man who had not eaten for two days. They enjoyed hot drinks, cakes - and of course good company.
About half a dozen volunteers turned up out of the blue to help the team of five who were already there.
Helper Marie Piper said: “They were willing to anything and everything.
"They just mucked in and kept the kitchen going, kept the teas coming, they spoke to people.
"They were just great.”
She added there was a slight increase in the numbers of hampers handed out this year.
The 65-year-old said: “There are so many stories, you don’t realise how dire the need is.
“A lot of those families, I think it’s hard for them to come along to ask for help, but because they want to have Christmas for their own families that makes them come forward, which we are pleased about because we want people to use it. That’s what it’s there for.”
She thanked the Community Church Sheppey for letting the charity use its premises, in Broadway, Sheerness.
Crisis at Christmas will keep its books open until mid-January. Anyone who would like help can call Mrs Boswell on 07709 961890.