As 2024 gets properly underway, I wanted to take a moment to reflect and share my experiences of working with the Sharing Table and the amazing Andrew Copson delivering Christmas hampers to families in Gower for the fifth consecutive year.
Andrew first approached me in 2019 about supporting the Sharing Table in their endeavour to extend a helping hand to disadvantaged families within Gower constituency. Despite perceptions of affluence in Gower, the cost-of-living crisis has hit hard, impacting families from Clydach to Gorseinon, Pontarddulais to West Cross, and the rural communities on the peninsula.
In their inaugural year, The Sharing Table provided 60 hampers to families identified by food banks, headteachers, councillors, and community activists as needing a little extra support during the festive season. The initiative has since grown remarkably, culminating in the delivery of over 150 hampers this year.
Sourcing hampers from local suppliers is one of the aspects that makes The Sharing Table's Christmas Hamper Campaign so special. This year's hampers were a feast of locally sourced food, with meat from the esteemed Hugh Phillips Butcher and fresh fruits and vegetables from the wonderful Shepherds of Gorseinon.
Since then, the Sharing Table has expanded beyond its initial Christmas Hamper Campaign. They now work with local schools to install kitchens to give pupils and the public an opportunity to learn about cooking and the importance of good nutrition at home and it's been a privilege to support them in this endeavour and witness first hand the impact they bring to the lives of those in need.
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Andrew Copson and his dedicated team for their tireless campaigning. Equally, a big thank you goes out to every volunteer and donor who played a crucial role in bringing joy to the homes of those in need.
I also want to extend a sincere thank you to our local businesses, Shepherd’s in Gorseinon and Hugh Phillips Gower Butcher, for their generous contributions. To everyone who has donated, volunteered, delivered hampers, and supported The Sharing Table this year, thank you for doing your bit to make a difference in Gower.