FAMILIES in crisis will have a better Christmas thanks to the generosity of one of Sunderland’s largest workforces.

Staff and suppliers at Castletown pump manufacturer Grundfos donated more than £1,000 and collected an impressive amount of food to give to Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen for Christmas.

The donations will help feed hundreds of people over the festive period.

Andrea Bell, of Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen, said: “We’ve never been busier, but with the support of businesses like Grundfos, Christmas will be a bit easier for many Sunderland families.

“We’re sending out 66 uncooked dinners on December 23rd so people can make their own; we’re distributing about 150 home-made ham and pease pudding stotties on the 24th, and on Christmas Day we’re sending out more than 150 breakfasts and then 330 Christmas dinners.

“People who have given to the Grundfos collection can rest assured that their donations will go to people who need them most. And it’s not just the donating of so much food and money, Grundfos are helping raise awareness of what we’re trying to do.”

Catherine Attwell, HR Director at Grundfos, said: “We normally look to support a local charity at Christmas, and we’re delighted to be helping the soup kitchen this year. People donated direct from payroll and we acted on an idea from an employee who suggested we donate money normally spent on our annual Christmas buffet, which has been cancelled because of Covid.

“Our regular suppliers such as Clarke Fire Protection Products Ltd are also getting behind the community soup kitchen.

“We’ve been collecting food for a few weeks and people have added items bought during their regular shopping.

“What struck me was Andrea’s passion and the fact she treats people with dignity and respect, no matter what their circumstances. The soup kitchen feeds anyone who is hungry, no questions asked. Obviously, they’re busier than ever because of the repercussions of the pandemic and it’s good to know we’ll be making a real difference.”

Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen has been supporting local people since it opened in July 2019. Until lockdown the kitchen was giving out more than 300 portions of food to hungry people seven days a week. Deliveries are now made to households by the team of 37 volunteers.

The soup kitchen is based in Hendon and predominantly covers that area, as well as Grangetown and Pallion – but has been spreading its coverage.

If you would like to make a donation after the Christmas and New Year period you can find contact details on Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen’s Facebook page.

Grundfos, a Danish company, is the world’s leading pump manufacturer and employs more than 18,000 people globally. It opened a Wearside plant in 1973 and now employs nearly 150 people at its Castletown site.