A CHARITY which helps the vulnerable, hard up and lonely during the festive season has launched its annual appeal.
Surviving Christmas is expecting the number of families needing help to be higher than last year as the recession continues to bite.
Last year the charity helped more than 5,000 people.
Alison Freelander, chairman, said: “The whole country is experiencing a turbulent time and we realise that this is a difficult time to launch an appeal as most people are feeling the affect of rising prices. However, the people who are hardest hit by the recession are those who receive a low income, the elderly and the disabled.
“Every year the number of requests from professional agencies for our help has increased. Last year’s project cost more than £40,000. This enabled us to help more than 5,000 people.
“We provided food vouchers to more than 1,400 families, delivered more than 500 hampers to the elderly and the housebound, for some we were their only visitors over the Christmas period.
“During our three-day open house we provided more than 400 cooked meals and offered warmth, good quality clothing and company to more than 150 people.
“Judith Wycherley, our chairman for the last six years and a committee member for 10 years, has sadly had to step down as chairman due to health reasons and we thank her for all her hard work and dedication to the charity.”
Hastings MP Amber Rudd is supporting this year’s appeal and encouraging people to help the charity.
She said: “Surviving Christmas is an excellent charity which provides essential support to vulnerable people in the local area during the Christmas period. I volunteered with them last Christmas and saw first-hand the brilliant work that they do to make Christmas a happy time for everyone. I will certainly be going back this year.
“It may be too early for tinsel and carols, but the Surviving Christmas appeal is in full swing and I encourage everyone to donate whatever way they can.”
People can donate money by sending cheques, made payable to Surviving Christmas and post them to PO Box 290, Hastings, TN34 9DT.
They can also donate non-perishable in date foods, toiletries, presents, toys and games for hampers, as well as good quality or new much-needed warm men’s clothing.
People can also join the charity’s volunteers, raising funds on collection dates around the town.
All donations can be delivered to the YMCA, St Paul’s Road from Monday, December 19 until Christmas Eve, between 10am and 4pm.
The volunteers meeting this year is at 7pm on Wednesday, December 7 at the YMCA, St Paul’s Road, St Leonards.
The Mayor, Cllr Kim Forward, is holding a coffee morning for Surviving Christmas on Friday, November 18 at the town hall from 10am till noon.