A staggering 4,000 carrier bags of food have been delivered to ensure no child in a community would go hungry this Christmas.
The amazing community effort was started by 27-year-old Jordan Mattinson who wanted to make a positive difference in his community when he heard in October about Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to ensure schoolchildren from low-income families continued to receive free meals in school holidays.
Jordan, of Whitehaven, who works for Enigma Industrial Services, wanted to make sure no child in his local community of Copeland would go hungry this Christmas.
Friends, and businesses rallied to the cause and so far have raised almost £11,000 for the Copeland Christmas Food Project, enabling organisers to turn up at Aldi’s Whitehaven store on Friday and buy 25,000 items totalling 20 tons of food and drink to be distributed to families in need across the community.
Faye McAllister, of Whitehaven, who works at United Utilities, and Peter Burns who works at Sellafield, were among those to lend their full support and, with advice from North Lakes Foodbank at Cockermouth, prioritised food that would go furthest in households such as pasta, rice and soup.
People from all over Copeland donated food and then, with others wanting to donate money, a Crowdfunding account was set up and soon reached more than £10,000.
With the money, and the help of staff at Aldi in Whitehaven, Jordan, Faye, Peter and friends were able to assemble a shopping list on Friday which included:
- 1,800 packets of 500 grams of pasta
- 1,900 packets of 1kg of rice
- 3,000 tins of soup
- 2,000 bottles of diet coke and diet lemonade
- 1,900 packets of biscuits
- 2,000 selection boxes
Then came the logistics of how to transport, store, bag, and deliver the 32 pallets stacked high with food to the people who were most in need across the whole of Copeland from Lorton in the north to Millom in the south.
Forth Engineering, with bases in Cleator Moor, Flimby and Barrow, which had already donated £500 to the fund, came to the rescue by donating two lorries – which were working on a project for Sellafield – and, with Sellafield’s permission, were able to lend them to the project so that all the food and drink could be taken to the former Marchon site at Kells.
Over the weekend more than 50 volunteers helped pack the food into 4,000 carrier bags, with each family set to receive two bags of food.
Yesterday, five vans delivered the food to more than 50 schools across Copeland to be distributed to families.
Jordan said: “What an unbelievable response from the community, from all the volunteers and businesses and organisations who have helped us.
“I have never been more proud or happy with anything I’ve ever been involved in. None of this would be possible without the family we have, the friends we have, and the community we have.”
Faye said: “The support we have had from businesses has been amazing.
“On Friday, Forth Engineering donated the use of two of their lorries and their team joined in to help us move everything from Aldi to our packing base at the former Marchon site. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Graham Cartwright, projects director at Forth Engineering, said: “We like to do anything we can to support our communities and will always go the extra mile to help people in need. We are proud to have played a small part in this incredible community effort.
“Congratulations to Jordan, Faye, Peter, and all the volunteers, businesses and organisations, and everyone who has donated, who have all come together to show what an amazing community Copeland is and to ensure no child will go hungry this Christmas.”
Jordan’s group have also organised a raffle with star prizes including a signed Dean Henderson Manchester United shirt, and signed Sale Sharks shirt.