200 free Christmas dinners to be delivered to vulnerable residents in Sunderland

We're donating and delivering 200 Christmas dinners to our tenants this Christmas Eve, thanks to a continuing partnership with Sunderland City Council.

We have once again joined up with the local council to make sure as many local residents as possible have a hot Christmas dinner this year, with our initiative donating more festive meals than ever before.

The festive deliveries first launched three years ago when one of the our Neighbourhood Enforcement Officers, Joanne Freeman, identified tenants who were unable to have a Christmas lunch or were alone on Christmas Day.

Since then, the appeal has tripled in size growing from 50 donations in 2018 to 200 deliveries this year.

For many people on Wearside, it has been an extremely difficult year, with many suffering loneliness, redundancy and reduced incomes. Our Housing Teams have identified vulnerable and isolated customers who will receive a Christmas Dinner free of charge.

The dinners consist of turkey and all of the trimmings, along with a complimentary dessert and a selection box which has been put together, by the School Meals Division of Sunderland City Council, based at Barnes Junior School, High Barnes in Sunderland.

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at Gentoo Group said: “Nobody should go hungry at any time of the year, but especially on Christmas Day, and this initiative is a brilliant way for us to ensure as many tenants as possible can enjoy a hot Christmas dinner this year.

“It’s extremely important to us as an organisation that we do everything we can to ensure our tenants and residents feel supported and these donations and deliveries are a great example of how our engaged tenants and colleagues work together to genuinely improve the lives of peple across Sunderland.

“I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has helped to grow this initiative again this year, including Sunderland City Council for preparing the delicious meals for our tenants.”

Sunderland City Council's Cabinet Member for Children, Learning and Skills, Councillor Louise Farthing said: “We are coming to the end of what has been a very difficult year for many people in Sunderland and I am delighted that alongside Gentoo we are able to offer this gesture to residents who may be struggling.

“We know many people may have been hit with reduced incomes this year, alongside other issues like loneliness and health problems, so we want to make sure that vulnerable residents do not have to also miss out on a hot meal this Christmas.”

Funding for the Christmas meals was donated our Community Engagement Forums, with over £1000 being donated to make the initiative possible.

If you are interested in joining our engagement forums to help make an impact in your local community, you can find out more here.