Over the past month, staff at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s (ULHT) four hospital sites - Louth, Boston, Grantham, and Lincoln - have been collecting various Christmas goodies to put into the festive hampers for charity.
The idea was the brainchild of the Trust’s Clinical Education Nurse, Sam McCarthy-Phull, who wanted to do something a little extra to help those in need this Christmas.
Over 100 different wards and departments took up the call to action across the Trust and last week, the hampers were dutifully delivered to food banks across the county.
Sam said she has been completely overwhelmed by her caring colleagues’ reactions.
“We all work for the NHS because it’s a caring profession and we work tirelessly in Lincolnshire, often in challenging circumstances, to ensure we provide the highest standard of care possible,” said Sam.
“I thought making Christmas hampers would be another example of how we can all help people in the local community at this time of year.
“We asked staff to donate an item a day to the hampers from November 14 to December 14 and kicked each one off with an advent calendar, which we delivered for the start of December.
“The hampers include essentials such as tinned goods and dry pasta, but also a few luxuries for Christmas including mince pies, puddings and some chocolates too of course.
“The response has been really incredible and we’ve managed to get some lovely hampers together – it’s been very emotional to see them being delivered.”
The Trust managed to mobilise some lorries to deliver the pile of parcels to food banks in Boston, Lincoln and Grantham in time for the festive period, with a little help from Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue along the way.
At Lincoln, the food bank was pleased to accept a donation of 2.6 tonnes of food from ULHT staff, the biggest ever single donation received.
Food bank Coordinator Amy Colley said: “We are so grateful and the food that was given to us will all go to helping local people in crisis, it really does make a huge difference to those people who are in need of it.
“This year we have seen a 25 per cent increase in the amount of people using the food bank compared to last year and up to October this year we have supported over 1750 people.”
Over at Grantham, food bank Coordinator Brian Hanbury said he was blown away by the generous donations from ULHT staff.
“We received 50 boxes of food and toiletries weighing almost 460kg, which will go towards helping about 300 local families,” said Brian.
“The donations will help us restore dignity to families and put smiles on faces so a massive thank you goes out to all the Trust staff for their valuable support.”
Reverend Ian Evans, Project Manager at the Boston food bank, said the last few months has seen more and more people accessing their help.
“We three cars and a van full of the hampers – it was amazing – we can’t believe how many people have got behind this,” he said.
“Over the past few months and particularly over the summer, we’ve seen around a 100 per cent increase in people coming to us. We’re helping between 200 and 300 people a month.”