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City players distribute food parcels

Exeter and Cranbrook families benefit

Exeter City Football Club players Jake Taylor, Matt Jay and Nigel Atangana took a break from training to help provide food for vulnerable families in  Exeter and Cranbrook, in a £50,000 project funded by Devon County Council from its winter grant scheme.

The club's charity arm, Exeter City Community Trust and sustainability group Exeter City Futures assembled more than 40,000 individual items into food parcels, along with personal care products, and energy vouchers. Exeter Learning Academy Trust worked with schools to identify families most in need.

Each food parcel is valued at approximately £75 and includes a budget-friendly cookbook, as well as both fresh and longer life food.

Jamie Vittles, chief executive of City Community Trust, said: “This was a huge logistical operation. We took delivery of two massive lorry loads of supplies and dozens of our volunteers from across Devon gave their time to sort it for the schools.

“We’d like to thank the businesses who have supported this and the volunteers who helped to sort through the food over the weekend."

Jamie added: “At a time when more and more people are experiencing hardship, it is incredibly heartening to see businesses and organisations across the region work together to help hundreds of families this Easter.”

The supplies will be delivered to 30 schools before Easter, where children and staff will assemble the parcels as part of an important educational element of the project. 

Simon Kitchen, Devon County Council’s head of communities, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on families, particularly financially with many parents and carers seeing their income change overnight."

Andrew Hardwick, Managing Director at Exeter City Futures, said: “Whilst it is saddening to see an increasing number of deprived families and children that are in need of support in Exeter, we have been overwhelmed by the level of generosity from across the city in response to their needs. 

“These 500 plus food and gift parcels, assembled by local volunteers, will make a huge and tangible difference to each of the families that may have otherwise gone hungry this Easter."

Other support for the initiative was received from Thrify, Greendale, Tesco, Westexe, Coastal Recycling, Morrisons, Oxygen House and Exeter City Supporters’ Trust.

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