Farming charity R.A.B.I says it will send out more than 650 festive hampers during the next two weeks to elderly, sick and disabled people who used to work in the agricultural sector.
The total outlay to the charity will be £40-£50k.
Most of the hampers will go to those in receipt of regular allowances from R.A.B.I, invariably people over the age of 65, on low incomes with limited savings.
Trish Pickford, R.A.B.I’s Head of Welfare, said: “It’s a sad irony that a lot of retired farmers and farmworkers, who have spent their whole lives producing food for others, now find it hard to put food on their own tables.
“We go to great lengths to recognise those we help as people, rather than statistics. That’s why we also send out things like birthday cards and flowers. It’s important to show someone who may feel isolated that you’re thinking of them. Christmas, for a lot of those we help, is the loneliest time of the year.”
R.A.B.I’s Christmas hamper campaign is now in its 13th year. In some parts of the country, such as Devon and Somerset, volunteers even deliver them personally to the door while elsewhere the hampers are distributed by the Leeds-based family firm that produces them, Festival Foods.
Each hamper costs £50, while the price of a double hamper for a couple is £85.
The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I) has had a busy 2018, giving out grants of more than £1.7m to over 1,200 individuals/families.
The charity has seen a big increase in the number of requests for help it has received from working people, but still gives considerable sums to non-working people.
This includes £101,300 towards care home top-up fees, £177,600 on disability equipment and £56,300 towards home help costs.
Trish Pickford added: “In today’s world there are so many challenges people must face in later life and health issues can be draining, both physically and mentally.
“We do not shy away from offering long-term support to people, sometimes over several decades.”
You can donate to R.A.B.I’s Christmas hamper campaign at www.justgiving.com/campaign/ christmas-hamper-campaign-2018
To contact R.A.B.I call the Freephone Helpline 0808 281 9490