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Christmas planning starts early for Lee

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Christmas planning starts early for Lee

IT might only be August but one Dumfries man’s thoughts are already turning to Christmas.

Lee Vann-Wakelin, pictured, and family are setting up a festive food hamper project to help families in need locally.

They hope to put together at least 150 parcels to be delivered around Dumfries and Galloway on December 23.

Each one will have food for seven evening meals to feed up to six people, including for Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

There will be recipes and meal suggestions from restaurants also included with the food.

Launching the idea, Lee said: “It is giving families in difficulties something less to worry about.

“The idea was born from last Christmas when my wife Louisa and I privately made up five family Christmas dinner hampers for families struggling because of being furloughed and because of losing jobs.

“Then at Easter when we managed to blast through our Easter egg target of 1500 to over 2200 Easter Eggs, I realised there were many people that were like-minded and happy to help.”

The families will be sourced via community groups, church groups and charitable organisations.

Lee said: “These boxes will take so much pressure off families who one day are free and winning in life, and then a rug is pulled from under them and it’s hell.

“Some families in Dumfries and Galloway seem to never have the luck most of us enjoy, they are hit with misfortune, month after month, year after year.

“We tend to believe these families operate in the awful circumstances they are in on purpose, or even happily, as they have been in hardship for so long. But that’s nonsense, it’s like our society only works with winners at life and losers, and nothing in between. Of course, we should be stopping and helping them up so we can all cross the finish line together, but we don’t.

“I’m hoping personally that we can smash the 150 boxes and help so many more families, I’d love this to be D& G wide.”

Over the next six weeks Lee and Louisa will be finalising the list of foods required for each box and will then be looking for cash donations to buy the supplies, as well as logistical help and Christmas cards, decorations, crafts and sweets.

Lee added: “Much like our Easter event, 100 per cent of cash donations will go into the boxes.

“I think people like the idea, that they can donate something and 100 per cent goes to the cause, be it one packet of stuffing, to a cash donation whereby we return receipts to the generous person as proof they made a direct tangible difference.”

To get involved, go to the Christmas Weeks Food Gesture 2021 page on Facebook.

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