With Christmas just under three weeks away, Radcliffe-based charity Porch Boxes is busier than ever with people turning to them for food boxes and other essentials.
Porch Boxes support groups such as single parents, families, young people, homeless people and people with addiction by providing weekly food boxes.
Councillor Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, has made it his mission to get behind Porch Boxes. He said: “As a family we’ve supported Porch Boxes for years. For as long as I can remember, my mum has been making up pre-packed Christmas hampers. When I became leader of the council I wanted to make sure people knew about this wonderful charity who make such a difference to so many lives.
“As a council we are right behind Porch Boxes, having supported them financially with a £15k grant and donating warehouse space to them. I’d like to encourage others across Bury to donate to help keep this life-changing charity going, whether that’s individual or business donations.”
The charity is appealing not just for donations, but for food dropping-off points. The average number of parcels required for drop-offs has increased to 100, and Porch Boxes needs more shops and public spaces to host a trolley for food drop-offs.
Julia Rowlands, who set up Porch Boxes in 2001, now works with a team of 18 volunteers and recently gave up her role as a head teacher to devote herself full time to Porch Boxes.
Julia said: “There’s no greater feeling than giving and seeing how much our donations are helping people in dire need. We live in an incredibly kind place where people genuinely do just want to help each other out. Our donations are based on team work. Although we make the final delivery of the parcel, the lead-up is vital. It’s our hidden helpers that make this happen too! That’s the people who make the food donations, and our team of volunteers who give up their time to make up the parcels are wonderful.
“There are all sorts of ways you can give. We have people who swap having presents at birthday parties for tins and packets instead, to give to us. As Christmas approaches we need more points across Bury where people can drop off their food. So please do get in touch in you can help. We will also be needing more money to keep us going soon. We have enough left to last another year but unless we receive more funding we won’t be able to keep going this time next year.
“And let us know if you know of someone in need. Usually agencies contact us to tell us when someone is in need of a crisis pack; however we’re getting more and more people coming directly to us because of life events that leave them strapped for cash, like being made redundant.”
Since Porch Boxes started in 2001 they have helped 52,715 families across Bury, some in Bolton and Heywood Rochdale too.
Julia concluded: “Our greatest wish is that eventually we will cease to exist as all people would then have exactly what they need.”
Contact Julia on 07724 113 035 for more details on how you can help.