Volunteer 4 All’s Operation Rudolph will help more people than ever this year

By Kate Baxter

21st Aug 2022 | Local News

Operation Rudolph volunteers (Credit: Volunteer 4 All)
Operation Rudolph volunteers (Credit: Volunteer 4 All)

Operation Rudolph is expecting to help more people than ever before this year, as the cost-of-living crisis hits home.

Operation Rudolph is an initiative of Honiton based charity Volunteer 4 All and TRiP and this is the third year that the event has been running.

Groups of volunteers will be helping residents enjoy Christmas Day, offering a festive meal in Mackarness Hall, meat boxes, and gifts for children.

To raise essential funds, TRiP and Volunteer 4 All are organising a Quiz Night which will take place on Thursday 8 September at The Heathfield Inn.

Last year 35 people enjoyed a festive lunch in the Mackarness Hall, and a further 70 families and individuals were helped with gifts and meat hampers in the days leading up to Christmas. Those who were unable to travel to the hall had Christmas meals delivered to their homes.

Operation Rudolph is available to anyone who is alone at Christmas, may find it hard to find the money for extra food, who is unable to cook a meal or would struggle to find the time to prepare a meal, perhaps because they are a carer for someone else.

As well as meals, Operation Rudolph helps people who are unable to afford to buy presents. Their objective is to ensure that no child goes without a gift this Christmas and they are encouraging people to come forward if they are in need.

This year more people than ever are expected to reach out for support after a year of spiralling costs.

Caroline Retter is Volunteer 4 All's Community Engagement Facilitator and she spoke to Honiton Nub News about the challenges people are facing.

"This year has already been hard for many individuals & families with many seeking from food banks and other agencies, with the cost of living spiralling out of control and energy bills rising, many will struggle even more, and Christmas will be harder than ever.

"There are no criteria to meet to be supported by Operation Rudolph Honiton, we are not here to judge, we are here to bring a little Christmas cheer to the people who access the service. Anyone who cannot prepare a meal on Christmas day for any reason or wants to share a meal with others, are invited to join us.

"Operation Rudolph Honiton is provided by wonderful people from our local communities who volunteer their time to support others, it is community led and community delivered and was funded entirely via fundraising and generous donations."

Earlier in the year Honiton Nub News spoke to three local foodbanks and charities, all of whom confirmed the increased demand for their services.

Teresa Pollard of the King's Food Bank told Nub News: "We have definitely started to see the cost of living affecting individuals/families that haven't previously used the food bank.

"I have recently spoken to clients that are having to make a choice between paying for electricity or buying food.

"It is a very worrying time for everyone."

Jake Bonetta, who is the founder of Foodsave, a food charity in Honiton, echoed her concerns. He said: "Foodsave is particularly worried about the effects this [the rising cost of food, energy and fuel] will have on mostly middle-income families. 

"Historically financially secure households may be forced to reach out for help, which is a large part of the challenge that community groups will face in trying to get help to the places it needs to go."

Operation Rudolph looking for helpers this year. If you can spare a couple of hours over the Christmas period, Volunteer 4 All and TRIP would like to hear from you.

They currently need volunteers for Christmas Day to prepare and drop off food, drop people off at Mackarness Hall, and help serve the meal. If you can't help on the day itself, they also need people to help prepare hampers and gifts.

If you would like to know more about Operation Rudolph, or you would like to volunteer or donate a gift, please email [email protected]


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