Volunteers at a soup kitchen and food bank near Glasgow received a huge boost when colleagues from our Coatbridge store surprised them with a £6,000 donation from the Asda Foundation to improve their kitchen.
The cheque was presented by Ann Binks and Sandra Purkiss, both of whom volunteer at the Helping Hands Soup Kitchen throughout the year and will be giving up their own time to help feed people in need at the kitchen on Christmas Day. They were joined by Kevin McBride, who's Asda's vice president for the North, and Jason Martin, our senior director for West Scotland.
The soup kitchen's chairperson Christine Ford said: "It's a real Christmas present for us – we're really grateful. My reaction was 'oh my'! It's amazing that we've managed to get a cheque for as much as that. Ann is smashing, I don't know what we'd do without her."
Christine said they money will be used to buy a new cooker, microwave and chairs at the soup kitchen.
Ann, who's our Coatbridge store's community champion, regularly volunteers at the soup kitchen with her husband Barrie and son Ben. This will be the fourth time the family have helped to prepare and serve Christmas meals.
Ann (pictured above second from the right alongside Ben, Sandra and Barrie) also secured a £1,000 grant from the Asda Foundation to help pay for a festive meal for the volunteers at The Georgian Hotel in Coatbridge to thank them for their fantastic efforts.
Ann said: "I've always said that Christmas is not all about receiving, it's about giving. We get a lot of pleasure from spending Christmas Day there.
"Four years ago the soup kitchen was providing some food on Christmas Day but not a proper Christmas dinner, so I thought I would help provide one and it's gone on from there.
"I told my husband and son what I was planning and they wanted to help, so they came along too and we do it as a family every year.
"We also arranged a thank you meal for the volunteers, which was absolutely brilliant. Everyone loved it and it was nice to reward all the volunteers who give up their time to help through the year."
Coatbridge Helping Hands is a charity which aims to provide food and refreshments every day of the year to people in need.
The charity's secretary Sam Bell said: "Ann is really helpful. In the time she's been involved with us she's made a big difference, she was heavily involved in starting up the Christmas Day meals and has brought lots of new volunteers along with her.
"The thank you meal was lovely, it was nice to get a wee thanks back. It was also really nice to meet some of the other volunteers. Because we all help out on a shift basis we don't always meet each other so it was great to put some faces to names!
"We're always looking for volunteers, aged 18 or over, to help prepare and serve meals to the needy and vulnerable."
If you're interested in volunteering at the soup kitchen, which is open from 7pm – 9pm every night at 1 Easton Place, Whifflet, Coatbridge, please contact Ann on firstname.lastname@example.org or Sam on email@example.com