Sunderland’s Student Union conclude November Festive Food Drive

Written by on 1st December 2023

The University of Sunderland’s City Space (Photo by Kensplace/Alamy).

The University of Sunderland, in collaboration with other North East universities, collected food and other essentials for those in the North East who are in need this Christmas.

Though the festive period is regarded as the greatest time of the year to many, increased financial pressure inevitably takes their toll on people who struggle to make ends meet.

The Festive Food Drive began on November 1 and concluded on November 30, with both students and those outside of the university donating unwanted household utilities or food items.

Formed through the national Student Volunteering Network, the idea was brought together by students from the Universities of Sunderland, Newcastle, Northumbria, Teesside and Durham.

‘’Through the national Student Volunteering Network, we formed a regional group for staff working in volunteering roles within the North East Universities and Students’ Unions,’’ said  Student Opportunities Coordinator at Sunderland, Reema Reddiar.

‘’We started meeting following the pandemic earlier this year and since, we meet every few months to share best practices so we can learn from each other.

‘’Through the meetings, we decided to start a collaborative effort that we hope will make a huge difference to people in need throughout the region.

‘’We will, hopefully, be doing more events or initiatives together in the future.’’

The current cost of living situation was a key factor in the organisation of the Festive Food Drive. The act of donating items in a difficult time to others who may be struggling more, showcases the generosity of the North East.

‘’One person I spoke to about it said they would look through their cupboards, do a bit of clear out and donate anything that they won’t be using but is still in date.

‘’Whilst another said they would add a few items to their each of their regular grocery shops that they could bring in.’’

Reema told Spark that some people formed their own groups to help with donations and awareness, as well as some of the university’s departments and faculties.

Schools also encouraged their staff and pupils to bring any donations to them, who then transported the items to the university’s collection point in the Edinburgh Building at City Campus in Sunderland.

All items donated were in support of organisations such as Feeding Families and Trussell Trust, which have a network of food banks all over the North East.

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