The Mayor of Ballymoney has decided to scrap the annual councillor’s Christmas dinner and instead donate the money to the town’s foodbank.
The traditional event was due to be held at the council’s Riada House this month.
But this year, the festive cheer that comes courtesy of the Borough’s first citizen will focus, not on public representatives, but less privileged families in the area.
For Alderman Bill Kennedy plans to direct funds that were set aside for the dinner into Ballymoney Foodbank, which provides vital supplies to many in the community in times of hardship.
Mayor Kennedy told the Times, the gesture is something he feels good about.
“I believe this is the first time that the Mayor’s dinner will not take place,” he said, “but I’m delighted that the money will be going to a very good cause.
“It’s better to help those less well-off and the Food Bank depends on donations from whatever source.
“No doubt the public would rather see this course of action and support the move.”
Praising the Mayor’s decision John McClements, who runs the foodbank along with Peter Rollins and Jarlath Hegarty, told the Times: “It’s absolutely brilliant. Ballymoney council have supported us from the very start and the fact that the councillors would put themselves out, [and] do without for the foodbank - I just think it’s brilliant.
“We can use all the help we can get. We’re over 500 vouchers now in a year, that’s from we opened in February - we’re not open a year yet.”
Although saying that Christmas is “a bit of an unknown” for the foodbanks as they were not open over last Christmas, John added: “We would be expecting it rise dramtically in the next couple or three weeks.
“Referrals work through a voucher system, so for intance if you were struggling, and you were in with your doctor, your social worker or health visitor and the list goes on” John said, “and you were struggling to feed your family... we provide a service and we will give you the voucher list of food which will feed your family for a week, and that takes the pressure off.
The Foodbank at Silversprings in run in conjcuntion with churches and organisations in the Ballymoney area, but relies on food donations to feed people in crisis.
The Foodbank is open on Tuesdays from 10 am. To 12 noon and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Any enquiries should be directed to 07565840571.