By Ken Ruane

A few weeks ago when Bonfire Night was over, Christmas decorations started to appear in the shops (although some had been there since the end of October) and with the German Market on its way to Birmingham our thoughts inevitably turned to Christmas and the forthcoming festivities.

However, for some in our community (and probably not a million miles from where we live), their concerns are slightly more fundamental. Where we may be concerned that the mince pies may run out or whether we have enough drink in the cupboard to last until Christmas, they are worrying if the food in the cupboard will last until the end of the week.

So on the run up to Christmas I suggested that we collect non-perishable food, tins, tea, coffee, etc., and arrange to deliver everything to a local food bank for distribution. I had hoped that we would be able to donate a reasonable amount but never expected such a brilliant response. As usual the Birmingham office rallied around and the eventual contributions received far exceeded my initial expectations – it was a fantastic effort by everyone and makes you realise how generous people are.

Thanks to everyone for supporting the food bank collection. I know that it will make a difference to a lot of people over Christmas.

“When the email was sent around for the Birmingham Central Food Bank collection, I knew it was something I wanted to get involved with. So I hit the supermarket and filled a 5p carrier bag with pasta, tinned food and tea bags (everyone loves a cuppa!).” Andrew Hanson, Engineer.

“I donated pasta, beans, soup and tinned tomatoes and potatoes because it’s nice to give to people who are not as privileged as us, and know they have food to eat over the Winter/Christmas period.” Elizabeth Haywood, Receptionist.

“When Ken sent out the email for the food bank, I thought it would be a great idea if I got my housemates involved and so together we chipped in and gave what we could to make somebody’s Christmas a little bit better than it would have been. As an international student in the UK, I was lucky enough to have family friends in the UK and spend Christmas with them when I couldn’t make it back home for the holidays. That meant that there was never a Christmas when I was alone, and it wasn’t just the food that made the celebration, it was the company of the friends I was with. It may be that we’ve given food for the Christmas Food Bank collection, but it’s my hope that whoever gets to enjoy what we’ve given will enjoy it in the company of great people who truly care and want to make sure that no one has to spend Christmas alone.”  Sharon Kidaha, Graduate Engineer.

“I donated pasta and sauces to the collection because they’re healthy and fully of energy, plus everyone loves a good pasta bake! The thought of people struggling to survive in the cold winter months compelled me to give, and I feel very proud of everyone who has participated and the large amount that has been given. I’m extremely glad that less fortunate members of the community will have a better Christmas because of this.” Daniel Tierney, Trainee Engineer.

To find out where our food went, or to donate yourself, please visit




For more information about the Birmingham office, please visit


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Charitable Work, Ken Ruane


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