COUNCIL staff and members have donated thousands of festive treats to foodbanks across County Durham to help people in need this Christmas.

For the third year running, employees and councillors from Durham County Council donated throughout November to the appeal which asks them to buy an extra item with their regular grocery shop.

Donations were then dropped into all the council’s main buildings and used by the foodbanks to create special Christmas hampers for local people in crisis.

County Durham Foodbank; East Durham Trust FEED project; the council’s family centres; Woodhouse Close Church Community Centre; Weardale Foodbank; PACT House, Stanley; Junction 7, Newton Aycliffe and The Salvation Army, Crook will distribute the hampers alongside the emergency food parcels they supply to families.

Enough food was donated during November 2019 to provide hundreds of meals for people in need this festive season.

Durham County Council suppliers also responded to the appeal, with Park Electricals, MGL/Raintons, Premier Traffic Management, Lloyds Bank, Hogarth Coachworks, Kier, Thomas Owen Clothing, Freemans Butchers and Wyn Construction all making generous donations of cash and festive food to the foodbanks.

Councillor Angela Surtees, cabinet member for social inclusion, said: “Our staff and elected members have a fantastic history of supporting local charities all-year-round, but particularly in the run-up to Christmas. Often people take luxury items for granted at this time of year, but by donating an extra treat alongside the usual food cupboard staples, people can make a big difference to people in our community and help families who are having a difficult time to enjoy some normality on Christmas day.”

As well as the Christmas appeal, council staff and elected members also make donations of non-festive goods for the foodbanks at council buildings all year round.