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Canny Challenge – Helmsley School aims to collect a street full of donations for the Ryedale Food Bank

Helmsley Community Primary School has accepted a challenge from the Helmsley in Business group to collect a street full of food for the Ryedale Food Bank.

Helmsley in Business has been running an Angel Advent Calendar – using the idea of the ‘reverse advent calendar’ as inspiration – where people collect one item every day in the run up to Christmas to donate to a good cause.

Linked in to the town’s Angel Festival, which runs from 3rd December to 5th January, businesses are encouraging the community to remember those less fortunate than themselves this festive season, by helping to shore up supplies at the Ryedale Food Bank.

The school are aiming to collect enough food donations to be laid out from the playground to the Helmsley Medical Centre at the end of Carlton Lane – a distance of approximately 160 metres.

The Ryedale Food Bank opened in July 2013, and is currently helping more than 40 families a week, reporting “exceptional need” in the region. It has helped 485 people and families since April this year. Food bank clients who are referred by GPs and agencies bring a voucher to one of the food bank centres in Malton and Pickering, where it can be redeemed for three days’ emergency food.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Angel Advent Calendar can drop off donations at Helmsley Outdoors, Snooty Fox, Libby Butler Jewellers and KVA Planning in Helmsley. Items needed and in short supply include soup, sponge puddings, tins of potatoes or instant mash, UHT juice, tinned meat, tinned fruit and vegetables, jam, toiletries and hot water bottles.

Katie Atkinson, director of KVA Planning and member of Helmsley in Business, said: “Christmas can be such a time of plenty – with gifts and food and decorations galore. So it is sometimes hard to remember that there are people very close by who are struggling with even the basics. It is fantastic that the school has got behind the Angel Advent Calendar idea, encouraging parents and pupils to get involved. We’re very grateful and the Ryedale Food Bank would also like to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed. Fingers crossed there’s enough donations to hit the challenge of making a line all the way to the end of the street!”

Tim Hiley, headteacher at Helmsley Community Primary School, said: “When we were given our ‘Canny Challenge,’ by Helmsley in Business to make a food chain from school to the Doctors surgery we were excited to take it on! Children, staff, parents and friends of school have been brilliant with their donations and we are really hoping that we can complete the challenge by the final date on Friday 2nd December. Christmas can be a very difficult and challenging time for families who are struggling financially and we are very proud as a school to be supporting Ryedale Food Bank and to be helping families in our community.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation at any time of the year to the Ryedale Food Bank can do so via All Saints Church in Helmsley.

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