Gillotts rings the changes as it pledges to help feed local families with its annual Christmas Tree appeal
A Stapleford funeral firm has pledged to help local families fill their empty kitchen cupboards by agreeing to donate the proceeds of its annual Christmas appeal to a local food bank.
Gillotts Funeral Directors, based in Derby Road, will support the Haven Church Food Bank this year through its Christmas Tree Remembrance Appeal, which was launched this week.
The company, which also operates branches in Kimberley, Eastwood, Selston and Heanor, has run the appeal for the past 15 years and raises money by donating £1 for every message left on the branches of trees erected in the receptions at each of its offices.
However, social distancing means that the company is only accepting visitors by appointment only, so it is not able to offer families the opportunity to come in and leave their message in person.
Instead, it has joined forced with St Lawrence’s Church in Heanor, where families will be able to hang their messages on the branches of a 20ft tree erected in the churchyard.
Alternatively, they will be able to leave their message with their local Gillotts office, and staff will put them onto the tree on their behalf.
The Haven Church Food Bank, which is based in Wadsworth Road, is a Trussell Trust food bank and provides food packages for people in crisis, along with a wider package of support including advice and clothing.
It is open on Tuesday and Friday mornings and foodbank manager Liz Stead says that it is currently helping around 100 people each week – twice as many as this time last year.
She said: “Although we run a busy food bank we take a more holistic view to helping the people who come to us, which means we help them to access benefits, or offer them clothes from our charity shop.
“It means that we can help them to move out of whatever situation they are in so that they don’t have to rely on food parcels any longer than they need to.
“There are some deprived areas in Stapleford and so any money we receive is extremely welcome, so we are very grateful for Gillotts’ generosity.”
Joanne Hutsby, a partner in Gillotts Funeral Directors, said: “Our Christmas Tree Remembrance Appeal has become an important part of our company calendar, but sadly there was no way for us to hold it in the usual way because of the need to keep everybody safe and well.
“We all felt strongly that we wanted to continue and so we’re extremely grateful to be working together with St Lawrence’s to ensure that families will be able to remember their loved ones.
“The coronavirus has hit many families in this area hard, so we wanted to make a difference by donating the money raised in Stapleford to help Liz and her team continue their work to in the New Year.”
Families can leave their messages of remembrance on the tree by visiting www.gillotts.co.uk/christmas20.