True Christmas spirit - Ipswich teenager's special gift to foodbank

Chloe-Louise Lowe, 16, donating items to Maureen Reynel at FIND

Chloe-Louise Lowe, 16, donating items to Maureen Reynel at FIND - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

A kind-hearted 16-year-old girl from Ipswich has saved up all year to donate to an Ipswich foodbank at Christmas.

Chloe-Louise Lowe, a student at Ipswich Academy, has bought dozens of tins and packets of food for the Families in Need (FIND) foodbank.

She washed cars and did household jobs for family to raise the money, then bought the food and other essentials, and took them to the foodbank's base in Braziers Wood Road. 

Chloe-Louise Lowe, 16, with her mum and dad Holly and Paul, delivering donations to Maureen Reynel at the FIND foodbank

Chloe-Louise Lowe, 16, with her mum and dad Holly and Paul, delivering donations to Maureen Reynel at the FIND foodbank - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

Chloe-Louise said one reason she supports FIND is that anyone could find themselves needing to use a foodbank. 

"You never know what's going to happen in the future. For all I know, someone I know could have to use it, or even me."

And she added: "I think it's especially important at this time of year - people tend to forget about it a bit because they are focused on Christmas and presents."

Chloe-Louise Lowe with the food she saved up to buy for Families in Need (FIND) foodbank in Ipswich

Chloe-Louise Lowe with the food she saved up to buy for Families in Need (FIND) foodbank in Ipswich - Credit: Holly Lowe

Chloe-Louise has also previously donated to care homes and raised money for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) through a cake sale.

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Now she wants to raise awareness and  encourage other young people to support the foodbank over the festive period.

The Year 11 student said her mum and dad, Holly and Paul, and nan, Jackie, had all been very supportive. 

Chloe-Louise Lowe, 16, delivering food items to the FIND foodbank in Ipswich

Chloe-Louise Lowe, 16, delivering food items to the FIND foodbank in Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

And she added: "I've had lots of hugs and praise from my friends, but that's not what I do it for."

Holly said: "I am very proud of her. She did this last year as well, - she has bought things she knows will be handy for families."

Maureen Reynel, founder of the Ipswich charity, said: "It's great that people are thinking of others at Christmas rather than being self-centred.

"It's especially good to see youngsters responding to the need, because it means there is some hope for the next generation."  

Chloe-Louise Lowe, 16, with her mum and dad Holly and Paul, delivering a donation to Maureen Reynel at FIND

Chloe-Louise Lowe, 16, , with her mum and dad Holly and Paul, delivering a donation to Maureen Reynel at FIND - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

Foodbanks like FIND, which provides thousands of free food parcels every year, have been more in demand than ever following Covid, amid concern over rising child poverty.

Earlier this month, the Rapid Relief Team (RRT) donated 500 family food boxes to FIND. It is also running a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of foodbanks.

To support FIND, visit its website.