Published: 16:00, 16 December 2020
| Updated: 16:46, 16 December 2020
A Kent newspaper is giving away hundreds of free copies over the festive season to families struggling to make ends meet.
The Sheerness Times Guardian which serves the Isle of Sheppey is being distributed along with food parcels.
Editor Denise Eaton said: "We understand hard-pressed families may have other spending priorities at the moment, but don't want them to miss out on what we believe is an important connector at any time of the year - the bond of community news, entertainment and information which help establish a feeling of togetherness."
Seven organisations which look after less fortunate Islanders will help distribute up to 500 copies each week of Sheppey's local newspaper in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year.
Among them is the Sheerness Food Bank based at Holy Trinity church in Sheerness Broadway.
Organiser Jeanette Hale said: "We will help anyone. We had one young man the other day who was off work sick and could only just pay his rent. He cried because he was so embarrassed but he was so grateful.
"We also had an elderly woman who came in so thin because she hadn't eaten for two weeks.Some people just don't know where to turn to. Some just need a few kind words and a smile, even if they can't see it under our face masks. We don't make judgements on anyone."
She added: "I'd like to thank all volunteers including Lynne Clifton of the Salvation Army and everyone who has donated money and food, especially Morrisons and Tesco."
Food parcels are delivered on Fridays with socially distanced collections on Mondays between 11am and 1pm. To apply, call 07984 370392 or 07984 370319 on Mondays between 10.30am and 12.30pm or call the church office during the week from 8.45am to 11.15am on 01795 871500.
Carol Wraight, one of the organisers behind Care 4 Christmas on Sheppey, which is based in the Community Church in Sheerness Broadway, said: "This is a lovely idea."
Their hampers include Christmas crackers and biscuits and presents for children and parents. The food bank officially opens today (Wednesday) from 10am to 4pm. Hampers will be delivered by volunteers.
Anyone can apply by leaving a message on its Facebook page or calling Janet on 07845 786640. To volunteer, call Marie 07927 614944. For donations and general enquires call Carol on 07871 058443.
The free Christmas and Boxing Day lunches in the church had to be abandoned this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Other organisations taking part are: Queenborough Food Bank operated by Queenborough Town Council; Oasis Isle of Sheppey Academy; Curly's Farm at Bay View and the Salvation Army.