A college group is planning on providing festive relief to families in need this Christmas by bringing back its hugely successful foodbank project.

London South East Colleges (LSEC), in partnership with 30 other colleges, including Boston College, Central Bedfordshire College and Chichester College, raised £43,800 for their local foodbanks after launching #FEFoodBankFriday when the UK went into lockdown in spring.

The group is now looking to rekindle their partnership with those and other colleges for #FestiveFEFoodbankFriday, which aims to collect 30,000 items for local foodbanks. 

“As the pandemic continues to impact so many people, it is imperative that we pull together to support one another,” said LSEC chief executive Sam Parrett, adding: “Sadly, food poverty continues to affect too many people.”

Collection baskets for food and other donations will be placed at four of the group’s sites: Bromley, Bexley, Greenwich and Orpington. 

Regular lists of the most-needed items will be published to help target donations. 

Fourteen colleges are already signed up for this latest project and will be providing a basket in their reception areas for donations and will be updating LSEC with a collection total every Friday at midday.

On top of that, the group is launching a JustGiving page — https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/FestiveFEFoodbankFriday — to raise £12,000. These funds will be divided up between the involved colleges and then distributed to their local foodbanks.

“In the run-up to the festive period we will be running a number of virtual activities to raise as much money as possible – as well as collecting as many actual donations as we can,” Parrett said. These activities will include a fireworks display and a Santa dash.

She continued: “Christmas can be a difficult time for many people and our aim is to help make it a bit easier for families in our community.”

During the last drive, the group donated three trolley-loads of provisions from its own BR6 Restaurant as well as a chest freezer to a local foodbank. The student union of one of its colleges, London South East Colleges, collected almost £3,000 from students, after making the project their charity of the year.

Colleges looking to sign up for #FestiveFEFoodbankFriday should contact Andrew Cox on andrew.cox@lsec.ac.uk.

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