VOLUNTEERS at West Somerset Food Cupboard were joined by a special guest to help them pack Christmas bags for people who need financial support.

Jennifer Duke, the high sheriff of Somerset, helped make sure the bags are ready for distribution to residents who are feeling pressure on their budgets.

The operation came after several months of preparation. Planning began in October, donations came in November and packing took place in early December.

In total, 81 big bags for familes and 74 small bags for couples or small households will be delivered across West Somerset by 12 support groups, including Magna Housing, Homestart and Rotary, which is taking parcels to seven Ukrainian families.

The bags were paid for by Love Somerset Online, an online shops that showcases some of the county's most talented makers and creatives.

Somerset County Gazette: Donations from members of the West Somerset community.Donations from members of the West Somerset community. (Image: West Somerset Food Cupboard)

The high sheriff said: “Thank you to all the volunteers who do an incredible job at such a busy time of year and everyone in West Somerset who so generously donates to the Food Cupboard.

“What an extraordinary operation it is with drivers, packers and many partner agencies. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of a dedicated team.”

Ali Sanderson, West Somerset Food Cupboard co-ordinator said: “The response for our Christmas bags has been wonderful and will make a difference for those in our community who are struggling to make ends meet in difficult circumstances.

“We are so grateful to everyone who has helped out: all the volunteers, the staff at Minehead Hospital who collected food, local community groups, our supermarkets who collect food and sometimes donate surplus goods and anyone else who has popped something in a collection point or donated money – a massive thank-you!”

For more information about West Somerset Food Cupboard, visit www.wsfoodcupboard.org.uk.