Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Fire service deliver Christmas hampers to 160 families in need

The fire service and a team of volunteers have delivered Christmas hampers to 160 of the poorest families across North Essex this week.

The hampers were delivered as a surprise for those families that would not have been able to afford a Christmas dinner or presents for their children.

The hampers contained food for breakfast, Christmas dinner, teatime, treats, toys and gifts for children, toiletries and pots and pans to cook with. The hampers also contained gas and electric vouchers so the families can cook their food and keep the house warm as well as a phone top up to enable families to keep in touch with loved ones.

While out delivering the hampers, the volunteers discovered that some of the families did not have a working cookers, fridges or freezers. After pleas on social media, and with the coverage that came from featuring on Channel 4, the team were overwhelmed with donations of pre-loved and brand new kitchen appliances.Volunteers were able to deliiver these appliances to the families in time for Christmas.

The project was led by Les Nicoll, Community Builder at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and his charity North Essex Support Team (N.E.S.T).

Last year, the fire service helped to deliver 80 hampers and this year thanks to the overwhelming response of volunteers and donations, 160 hampers were delivered to those in need.

Les Nicoll said: "The support from the local community has been amazing and I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

"We came up against some challenges this year with the Covid restrictions and last minute change of Tiers which meant some volunteer who were signed up couldn't come. But after a quick post online we had a full team of volunteers ready to shop, pack and deliver our hampers.

"There are so many people to thank that I can't possibly name everyone, but I want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved. Whether you donated money or helped with the shopping, sorting, packing and delivering, without your help it simply wouldn't have happened."

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