`

Big-hearted Sheffield community rallies to support food bank hit by thieves

Grace food bank volunteers pictured collecting donations at the fair, l-r Martin and Anne Lawton, Rob Hurrell, Mags McDadd and Chris Allott.
Grace food bank volunteers pictured collecting donations at the fair, l-r Martin and Anne Lawton, Rob Hurrell, Mags McDadd and Chris Allott.

A community has rallied to help ensure needy families can enjoy a festive feast in their neighbourhood this Christmas - by donating to a food bank targeted by thieves.

Callous thieves stole a box full of items including pasta, toilet rolls and chocolate from a newsagents in Lowedges that was intended for The Grace Food Bank that helps scores of families in south Sheffield.

Greenhill and Bradway Tenants and Residents Association committee members l-r Christine Dalton, Barabara Hill, Sheila Stafford, Joyce Greaves, councillor Bob Pullin, Steve Rich, Katelyn Sheridan, aged 10, and Shelly Dalton, pictured with with the lord mayor Anne Murphy.

Greenhill and Bradway Tenants and Residents Association committee members l-r Christine Dalton, Barabara Hill, Sheila Stafford, Joyce Greaves, councillor Bob Pullin, Steve Rich, Katelyn Sheridan, aged 10, and Shelly Dalton, pictured with with the lord mayor Anne Murphy.

But big-hearted residents came forward in their droves to support the food bank, donating up to 20 bags full of shopping to volunteers at a stall at the Lowedges Christmas Market on December 3 just days after the theft.

A number of businesses also donated toys for children and a cash donation of £50 was also made.

Lowedges resident Stephen Rich, secretary of market organisers Greenhill and Bradway Tenants and Residents Association, said the act of solidarity showed community spirit is alive and well in the area.

He said: "It was a fantastic response. People came forward with all kinds of things such as soup, chocolates, tins of food and fruit.

Paula Smith, pictured with her Christmas hampers.

Paula Smith, pictured with her Christmas hampers.

"There must have been about 20 carrier bags full. It is wonderful."

He added: "The area has had a bad reputation in the past but we are a hard-working and tight-nit community who help each other.

"It was important that something was done as some people have to rely on the food banks in this day and age."

He added hundreds of people visited the market, which included more than 100 stalls and carol singing, held at The Tenants Hall in Gresley Road, Lowedges.

Shirley Bennett and Margaret Jackson, pictured on their homemade preserves stall.

Shirley Bennett and Margaret Jackson, pictured on their homemade preserves stall.

Beauchief and Greenhill councillor Bob Pullin praised the community's "boundless care and generosity" and added that he was "proud of Lowedges."

Fellow ward member Richard Shaw said: "I'm very proud that our community has responded to this sickening act with such a heart-warming gesture, with local families not only donating such a generous amount of replacement food donations but also toys and other gifts for Christmas presents for those families who depend on the food bank during hard times.

"I’m always amazed by the community’s spirit and appreciative of the hard work of local people and community groups in supporting their fellow residents and making the area a better place to live."

A spokesperson for The Grace Food Bank said: "This was a really great effort as we are always in need of donations.

"We want to say a huge thank you to the community."

Councillor Bob Pullin and Lord Mayor of Sheffield Anne Murphy presenting a donation.

Councillor Bob Pullin and Lord Mayor of Sheffield Anne Murphy presenting a donation.

For more information about the food bank visit www.gracefoodbanksheffield.org.uk