HUNDREDS of people will be better fed this winter, thanks to the generosity of city businesses.
About 220 people have benefited from food hampers made up by Pallion Action Group (PAG).
The charity parcelled up donations from a variety of businesses to help give its clients a treat and make Christmas a “little easier”.
Thirty-five large hampers have been handed out but community development officer at the centre, Karen Wood, said they will help more people than that.
She said: “We made big ones because we thought people might share them out.
“Or even give someone items from it as a Christmas present, so they will benefit a lot of people.
“We just wanted to give people who have struggled all year a bit of a treat at Christmas.”
The hampers included items from luxury chocolates to staples such as tins of beans.
Karen started the drive to make the gifts in November, and has been overwhelmed by the generosity of businesses who wanted to help more needy residents.
She added: “It’s humbling to see how many people want to help others.
“It’s made me absolutely speechless. There are so many generous people out there.
“It’s been a long, hard year for people, so this little treat can take just that bit of pressure off them.”
The hampers were delivered to some of PAG’s most vulnerable and older clients on Friday with help from Sainsbury’s, who used a delivery truck to help Karen hand out the parcels.
The Sunderland Empire also got involved with the Christmas cause, and donated 120 tickets for pantomime Cinderella to the centre, which have been handed out to those not receiving a hamper.
While Pallion ward councillor, Celia Gofton, secured £500 from the Community Chest fund for clients attending the show, to spend on “festive treats and transport”.
She said: “Pallion Action Group does exactly what it says on the tin.
“It helps the whole community and does such good work. We are very proud to have it in our ward and to support it in any way we can.
“We used the Community Chest fund, which enables community organisations to do this kind of work, to give the charity a small grant.
“And we couldn’t be happier that so many organisations have pitched in to help with this project.
The Police Charity also donated £250 in shopping vouchers to Karen’s Christmas hamper cause, and staff from B&M Bargains used their own cars to deliver food and donations to the charity, while centre clients Doran Clementson and Margaret McReady helped to make up the gift parcels.
Karen added: “I don’t think I could have handled many more people being so generous.
“The way this has snowballed and the number of people it is helping at a difficult time of year has been unbelievably overwhelming. I’m thrilled.”