Angels deliver 200 Christmas hampers

A CHARITY is helping spread some seasonal joy to hundreds of families in the Capital this year - by delivering a full Christmas dinner.

After receiving an "overwhelming" response to their appeals for food, the Leith-based Destiny Angels have been able to put together more than 200 Christmas hampers, featuring everything needed for a festive feast.

They have even been delivering gifts to some homes - with one man admitting it was the first present he had received in 20 years.

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The last of the hampers were being delivered around the Capital yesterday by volunteers, and it is thought more than 250 people will benefit.

The charity, linked to the Destiny Church, was set up in January 2008 and aims to help people deal with "short-term crisis", carrying out odd jobs for the sick and vulnerable as well as helping provide food.

This year they said there had been a huge number of people saying they had experienced unexpected cash problems, with some people unable to get out to pick up benefits as a result of the severe weather.

Judith Watson, the volunteer co-ordinator at Destiny Church, said they had been delighted at the generosity shown by people at a time when many are struggling to make ends meet.

"It is the first year we have done something like this and really it was a result of speaking to so many people who were worried about how they would feed their family over Christmas," she said.

"We have been able to put together more than 200 hampers, which have been delivered to families and individuals who were struggling.

"Some of them have vouchers to get fresh food, where it was deemed appropriate, and every hamper has enough to make a proper three-course Christmas meal.

"The response was overwhelming - people who don't have much gave so generously, just getting together whatever they could, and people who could be receiving a hamper actually donated one, which I think is just amazing."

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The hampers were made up from donations which included everything from tinned veg, soup, pasta, cranberry, stuffing to mince pies, Christmas pudding and bottles of juice.

People also donated gifts and seasonal stockings full of little toys, with some spending up to 30 on filling a hamper. Others donated cash which volunteers used to buy essential items for each hamper.

As well as needy families, the hampers will be delivered to older, vulnerable people and some who are homeless and living in hostels.

Ms Watson said the reaction from those receiving the gifts had been amazing.

"They have just been so grateful, because they have been really struggling," she said.

"One woman who got in touch had no idea how she was going to feed her children on Christmas Day.

"It has been amazing - one gentleman admitted he hadn't received a Christmas present in 20 years, so it means a lot to people that we are able to help."