In this day and age, we’d like to think that the thought of not being able to eat or wonder where the next meal is coming from for anyone would never cross ones mind, but unfortunately this is a reality for a lot in Wales and the UK. Luckily, there are organisations out there who are ready to help those in need.

V Award Local Heroes Raven House Trust, is one of Wales’ longest serving food banks, who originally started out donating furniture to people way back in 1992, then evolving into a food bank around a few years later in 1998.

The charity collects food, furniture, bedding, toys and household items to help families and individuals that find themselves in desperate need not just at Christmas, but all year round.

They take in and are able to collect good clean furniture from in and surrounding areas of Newport. The furniture is used for families and people that go without, and, they donate these free of charge (when delivering a small fee of £25 is payable, which is used to maintain a van and driver).

At this time of year however, one of the most valued donations come in the form of food parcels.

Voice visited its headquarters on Cromwell Road, Newport, and witnessed first-hand some of the work that the volunteers do, and I must say, it was quite humbling to hear some of the stories of the people that they help each and every day.

We were greeted by chairman Maggie Smith, who looks after the books and makes sure that the Trust brakes even each year, as it’s a not-for-profit charity.

“This year we’ll be making 1,000+ food parcels for Christmas,” Maggie told Voice.

“The amount of people we provided food for last year was a grand total of 6,824. This year, at the end of August we have had already provided to 7,883 – year after year we are seeing an increase in those needing help in this way - it's a disgrace.

“Thankfully we don’t do this work alone, and have numerous schools, businesses, other charities, volunteers, supermarkets, churches, Gwent Police and many other supporters who help in any way they can – we are so thankful for all their continued help with fundraising and donations to help us keep working.

“The kindness of people is amazing, and their giving is amazing, and we are all working together to help those in our community, but we still need volunteers to help with this huge task.

“School children are simply fantastic, as each year we select a different school to come and help us first hand, as well as donating items through their yearly harvest. The children leave beaming knowing that they’ve helped someone out, it’s greatly rewarding for them, as it is for us, knowing that they done something good for someone else – they can see where the food they give goes and they love sorting out the new toys going to families who are finding things difficult.

“We receive amazing support from our local Primary and Comprehensive Schools St Andrews Primary, Lliswerry Primary, Gaer Primary, Glan Usk Primary, St Patrick’s Primary, Duffryn Juniors/Primary, Stow Hill Primary, St Julian’s Primary/Juniors, not forgetting St Julian’s Comp and Lliswerry Comp, we would like to say thank you to all of them.”

Typical food items you can donate:
Cereals and porridge oats.
Tinned and packet soups.
Pasta and curry sauces.
Tinned rice/fruit and sponge puddings.
Tinned tomatoes/beans and spaghetti.
Pasta and rice.
Tinned vegetables and potatoes.
Tinned meat/pies and fish.
Tea/coffee and sugar.
Biscuits and snack bars.

In addition to food parcels and furniture the team at Raven House Trust are also more than happy to receive new toys aged from new born to 12 years for boys and girls, good clean bedding, sleeping bags, kitchen equipment and toiletries.

This amazing team also does extra boxed food parcels for the agencies who deal with homeless people, where they did around 300 boxes last year and are expecting to do around 400 this year.

So, as it’s the season of goodwill, please bare a thought for those who are less fortunate, and if you are able to help out, please donate to this very worthy cause and be a part of making someone else’s Christmas special.

Raven House Trust is located at 276-278, Cromwell Road, Newport NP19 0HT, and the store is open from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Thursday.

In some cases, they can collect your old furniture, especially if it is too big to fit in your car, give the helpful team members a call today.

If you are in need of help this Christmas but don’t know how to go about getting one of these food parcels, talk to your support worker or housing association about how to get referred. For example: If you’re a Tenant of Newport City Homes or Charter Housing, simply contact them directly.

Raven House, 276-278 Cromwell Road, Newport NP19 0HT

01633 762999

Opening Times:

9am to 12pm