Ryton Co-Op, Christian Aid bag pack

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Volunteers Alison Stancliffe and James Wilders, with Pam of Ryton Co-Op

Were you in the Co-Op yesterday?  Ryton Christian Aid volunteers were there raising money by packing our shopping bags. This is a spring tradition for them (and us) and yesterday’s bag pack was the tenth in a row, raising £325 in five hours!  Every church takes part, splitting up the time, with organiser Alison Stancliffe keeping things running smoothly. Everyone putting in a little makes the total amount a lot. Each year the team worries that in this ‘pay by card’ era, loose change is vanishing, but people still seem to carry enough change to donate. Today it was touching to see how many people put pounds not just pennies on the buckets, which made the volunteers’ time really worthwhile. Over £130,000 has been raised for communities across the world since the first Christian Aid Week collection in our area in 1972. The main fundraiser has been the same since Christian Aid Week started – a house to house collection organised jointly by churches in Ryton, Greenside and Crawcrook.

Alison says;  “Each year in mid May you’ll see willing volunteers knocking on doors to collect the familiar red envelope and giving up a few hours to contribute to the millions of pounds raised nationally. Some are still collecting _DSC1092_edited-2in their 80s, having done it since Christian Aid Week began!  People react very differently to the volunteer packers. Some really appreciate the help. Others smile and tolerate it. And others really do just want to pack their own bags! But even they usually chip in.

Something people don’t always realise is that Christian Aid works with people of all faiths and none, though its supporters come from the UK’s protestant churches.The money goes to emergency aid and projects in the world’s poorest regions run by Christian Aid’s trusted local partners. Look out for the Christian Aid Week posters as the week approaches,. Most collecting is done in Ryton but there’s a chance to contribute at two fundraising coffee mornings – Greenside Methodists on Friday 13th May and Centenary Methodists on Saturday 14th May.”  Thanks Alison. For more information visit  Christian Aid

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Edric Buzzard chats to customers and staff