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Teenagers team up to hand out Christmas hampers

2014.12.22 Oxford Times article photo - website

News of a joint Oxford Food Bank and Leys Community Development Initiative Christmas hamper project from the Oxford Mail on 22nd December 2014.

Those in need of Christmas cheer are being helped by the young people of Blackbird Leys.

The Leys Community Development Initiative (CDI) has worked with the Oxford Food Bank to deliver festive hampers to people across the estate.

The boxes are being given to those with financial difficulties, the elderly and the lonely.

Young people taking part in the scheme have spent weeks decorating and packing hampers filled with food provided by the food bank.

CDI’s youth project development manager Marsha Jackson said: “The beautiful looking hampers are being delivered to single people, families and over-50s in Oxford who face financial or other difficulties this Christmas.

“For some people this time of year can be very stressful – for many it may be the loneliest day of the year.

“We feel that no one should spend Christmas without joy and it is meant to be a time of happiness and sharing.

“The Leys CDI and the Oxford Food Bank would like to bring a little of that festive cheer to those who otherwise miss out. It is a way of letting people know there are people out there who care.”

The first boxes were delivered by the youngsters last week but more hampers will be taken out today and tomorrow.

The hampers are still being put together until tomorrow as more suggestions for recipients come in from the services. Miss Jackson said that the team was starting small this year, as it was the first time the scheme had run.

She said: “It was never going to be thousands. I think we’ve probably put together about 40 hampers.”

The boxes contain fresh and tinned food, as well as festive treats like mince pies and Christmas puddings.

To find those in need, the Leys CDI has worked with its sister organisation the Clock House in Greater Leys, which works with the elderly, and social housing group Catalyst Housing.

Catalyst Housing officer Penny Garner said: “This has been a fantastic initiative and a great pleasure to offer these hampers to a range of residents.”

Ms Garner added: “One resident squealed with delight when it was offered.”

Barton resident James McDonald, 16, said: “Christmas is a time for sharing, and this is a good way to do that.”

Kameca Gayle, 14, from Blackbird Leys, added: “We wanted to get involved and give back to the community.”

Link to original article in the Oxford Mail.