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Fife volunteers spread festive cheer while collecting for local foodbanks

Santa Benarty volunteers dress up and drive the streets of Ballingry. Picture: Steve Brown.
Santa Benarty volunteers dress up and drive the streets of Ballingry. Picture: Steve Brown.

Fife volunteers are spreading festive cheer this weekend while collecting much-needed items for local foodbanks.

James Fotheringham is joining a team of around a dozen good samaritans in a foodbank and pantry run in Benarty throughout Saturday and Sunday.

And now, local residents and businesses – including Brenda and Owen Buchanan Supplies, BRAG Enterprises, and builders Peter McGuire and Kevin McLean – are continuing their philanthropic endeavours.

Santa Benarty volunteers dress up and drive the streets of Ballingry. Picture: Steve Brown.

The group, armed with whistles and collection bags, will be dressed up in festive gear as they wander the streets collecting food items and monetary donations from the public.

Two teams will begin at around 10.15am and they will be collecting items for Benarty Foodbank, Benarty Food Angels and the Benarty Pantry.

But for those who will miss the festive fun, donations can still be made at the Co-op in Lochore.

‘It’s time to act’

James, who works for Bay Travel, says the pressure of this time of year has prompted the volunteers to take action.

He said: “There has been a lot of demand for food and it’s time to act.

“When the volunteers did this last year, they liked the buzz and it took to their hearts.

Santa Benarty volunteers dress up and drive the streets of Ballingry. Picture: Steve Brown.

“It’s only with the directors of Bay Travels’ support that I could do it this year as I was on a rota to work.

“They had been looking to give support to local good causes.”

But his generosity didn’t stop there.

The 55-year-old also helped organise a Christmas-themed gig at Benore Care Home in Lochgelly on Friday evening.

Lochgelly vocalist Jimmy Jack entertained residents as the festive period fast approaches.

Impact of Covid

And Brag Enterprises, which runs the pantry and foodbank, has noticed a surge in the number of people needing support during the pandemic.

Managing Director Brian Robertson-Fern said: “We set up the pantry at Brag for those in food poverty, so you don’t need to be in crisis.

“We wanted to remove the stigma so it’s about access to affordable food. You can get a couple of bags of food for two or three pounds.

“The way we pitch it to the community is ‘this isn’t a handout but it’s about you saving waste.'”

He added: “Certainly when the pandemic came along, it was likely to make things even worse.

“People who are self-employed such as taxi drivers and hairdressers suddenly had no income but they still had bills to pay.

“And they were turning up at pantries asking ‘can I have a bad of messages as I’ve got nothing in?'”

Helping others runs in the family

This is not the first philanthropic venture undertaken by the Fortheringham family.

In April last year, James’ daughter Maci Fotheringham raised more than £1,000 for Benarty Foodbank by spreading some hope with painted rainbows.

It all started when a local police constable asked for one of her paintings to put in the window of his police car in exchange for a donation to Benarty Foodbank.

Maci Fotheringham. Picture: Steve Brown.

Maci, who was 11 at the time, initially set a £200 fundraising goal but decided to keep going after she smashed her target.

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