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Reading Festival crowds are thanked for Christmas efforts

Reading Festival audiences have been thanked for their generosity, after 800 food parcels were handed out at Christmas.

Crowds were asked to donate any leftover non-perishable food and drink items at the end of the festival in August 2011, to go towards needy residents in the borough at Christmas.

The festival appeal led to 200 kilos of food being collected. The donations were the main source of food for the Christmas food parcels organised by the Salvation Army.

The food parcels were then handed out to individuals and families who had been identified by social services.

The request for parcels had risen dramatically this Christmas to 800, compared to 500 the previous year.

Melvin Benn, of Festival Republic, which organises the Reading Festival, said: “I’d like to thank all Reading Festival-goers and the Salvation Army staff for their efforts, which resulted in the collection of approximately 200 kilos of packets, bottles, tins and cartons of food which will be put to use in around 800 Christmas food parcels distributed to those in need in the local area.

“A team of Festival Republic volunteers helped to pack the parcels and it’s wonderful to see these unwanted items be put to such good use.”

Other volunteers who helped to pack the hampers included staff from Blandy & Blandy, the Reading branch of Wrigley and children from Westwood Farm Primary School in Tilehurst.

Stuart Scott, of the Salvation Army, said the food hampers were now an established part of Christmas in the town, and the church was “more than happy to meet the challenge”.

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