The cost of living crisis has affected many of us, especially in the run-up to Christmas. To try and combat the stress of managing finances around the Christmas period, Mrs Lund, Family Learning Mentor, put a plan into action. In October, she started to contact local businesses and supermarkets in Carlisle to see whether they would donate either money, food or other gifts to go into a Christmas hamper for some of our families who need it most.

Thanks to the hard work of Mrs Lund and the generosity of the local community, she has managed to create 40 hampers that include all the essentials for Christmas, such as food, clothes and gifts. Collectively, £1,600 was donated, which paid for the turkey crown, pigs in blankets and sausage meat that Mullholland Butchers in Great Orton kindly offered at cost price. Thank you to Jill Glencross Funeral Directors, DSD, Craig Robinson Vets, Gurkha Spice, Borderbrite, Ashlea Vets, Cash For Kids, Petteril Bank Council, Balchin Newsagents and Cumberland Building Society who all contributed cash.

Thank you to Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Aldi, Lidl, Cavaghan & Gray, Carrs and Jacobs who all generously donated the rest of the contents for the hamper, such as brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes, stuffing, mince pies, creamy mash, stocking fillers, nibbles, clothes and more.

The families who received the hampers were extremely grateful, with one parent commenting, “I can’t even put into words what this means to me, I am so grateful.” Another parent said, “I have four children and I appreciate any help I can get, thank you so much” and another parent remarked, “The cost of living is a nightmare and so I can’t appreciate it enough”.

On top of these hampers, Mrs Lund also received a call from Worldwide Travel Connections in Carlisle. The owner, Stephen, is donating 29 fresh Christmas dinner hampers that include a fresh turkey, pigs in blankets, sausage meat, pudding and custard. Families from Caldew Lea Primary School, Newtown Primary School, Petteril Bank School and Yewdale Primary School have been identified and will receive these hampers on 23rd December. Thank you to Stephen for your generous offer that will really help reduce the cost and stress of Christmas Day for these families.