Bury St Edmunds: Gatehouse will not hold Christmas meal this year due to Covid-19
A charity’s annual Christmas meal, which has been running for 32 years, has been cancelled with volunteers set to support lonely individuals in other ways this year.
Gatehouse, which runs a foodbank in Bury St Edmunds , traditionally holds the event at St Benedict’s Catholic School. Chief executive Amanda Bloomfield said Covid-19 has forced the cancellation.
She said: “We made the decision after speaking to the school and some of our supporters last month.
“We are now looking at what we can do to support those who may be suffering loneliness, because that is what the event is for.
“We are really disappointed we are not going to be able to run it, but we have to put first the safety of our guests and volunteers.
“It was a difficult decision to make. We use the school so it is about the care of the children too.”
Around 150 guests and 100 volunteers are involved in the event every year. Gatehouse is still preparing Christmas hampers to help provide food, and with ‘unprecedented demand’ expected due to the virus, 200 out of a likely 600 have already been finished.
Amanda said food donations would not be needed this year, but asked residents to consider providing money to provide storage.
She added: “We are looking at providing a smaller event for our regular clients who have come for many years. We are looking at a different venue and not holding it on Christmas Day.”