Generous staff at a hospital in Wrexham are donating to a foodbank charity instead of giving each other Christmas cards – and they’re ensuring that even pets don’t miss out.

The medical and administrative teams at Spire Yale wanted to do something extra to help people worse off than themselves this Christmas.

Sister Lynda Crabbe said they chose to support the Wrexham Foodbank to stop people going hungry over the festive holiday.

She said: “We decided that instead of all handing out Christmas cards to each other, this year we would bring in donations for the foodbank instead.”

Lynda, who was recently promoted to the role of pre-operative sister at Spire Yale, and her three colleagues Debbie Jones, Michelle Jones and Yvonne Bucur came up with the idea over a coffee break.

Lynda said: “When word of what we were planning spread around the hospital, staff from all departments got right behind us.”

Between them they collected several boxes full of donations of all sorts of foodstuffs, gifts and household products to hand over to the foodbank, headquartered at the ARK Community Centre, The Salvation Army offices, Rhosddu.

Sally Ellinson, the Wrexham Foodbank, project manager, said: “We want to say a big thank you for the donation from Yale hospital.

“Their support will mean we can continue to provide emergency food for those in crisis in Wrexham and hopefully help them on their journey out of poverty. This Christmas we will be providing over 350 food parcels as well as our ongoing support.”

The Wrexham Foodbank opened in 2012 and over the last year it has handed out 4,743 emergency bags, each containing enough food and household supplies to last people for three days. It is one of 428 Foodbanks now established across the UK which have given more than a million emergency packs to people in crisis over the 2015-16 period.

Lynda, originally from Scotland but now living in Ponciau, Wrexham, said: “This is such a worthy charity which desperately needs support. No one should have to go hungry at Christmas or any other time of year.

“A crisis can hit individuals or families at any time of their lives, and the Foodbank offers them a very real lifeline. I urge as many people as possible to support it with continued donations.”

Lynda said such was the level of support from the 140 staff at Spire Yale hospital that there were even donations of cat food and dog treats to help families who had pets.

The charitable friends contacted the Foodbank before embarking on the scheme to tell them what they were doing.

Lynda said: “They supplied us with a list of items needed. Pet food was on the list. It might seem strange but the fact is that people who are struggling to feed themselves often cannot afford to buy any extras and that includes paying out for tins of dog and cat food. It can be heartbreaking for people seeing their pets go hungry. After all they are part of the family too.”

Among urgently needed items on the list were long life milk, cartons of fruit juice, and bags of sugar. The food bank also includes tinned foodstuffs, cereals, pasta, rice, tea, coffee, biscuits and snacks in its emergency bags, along with useful toiletries like toothpaste, and toothbrushes, which families on a tight budget struggle to afford.

Lynda said: “It is amazing when you start to think of what goes into a weekly shop, especially if there are two or three children to feed as well. The cost quickly mounts up and we wanted to do as much as we could to help ease the burden on families.

“Several staff also donated festive treats like Christmas puddings, chocolate snowmen and sweets to bring some extra cheer over the holiday period.”

Lynda and the team added an extra special box of biscuits to the bumper feast – reserved for the Foodbank volunteers and staff.

She said: “They do so much to support people in need and give up spare time which they could be spending with their own families, so we wanted to include a little thank you to them.”

Anyone interested in donating to the Foodbank, hosting a food collection or becoming a volunteer with the charity should telephone 07538 547971 or email:  and for more information visit