Lewis Foundation Northampton and Louise Pentland team up to give away 160 Christmas hampers

The founder says supermarket Waitrose has been 'invaluable' in transporting the goods

Thursday, 9th December 2021, 9:23 am

The Lewis Foundation in Northampton is set to deliver 160 free Christmas hampers to hospital patients this festive season, with help from a supermarket and an influencer.

This is just the latest, festive rendition of the service, which the foundation runs annually for cancer patients.

Each hamper contains festive goods like food and drink, a bottle of prosecco, yule logs, chocolates, Christmas loaves and more, totaling 12 products.

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Louise Pentland and her daughter, Darcy, helping to make up hampers.

Lorraine Lewis, co-founder and CEO of the Lewis Foundation Northampton, said that a combination of volunteers and business support have been essential to the event's success.

She said: "Every year we ask businesses in the community to make a donation of £35 to support patients, as that is what it costs to make one hamper.

"It's had an amazing response. Many of the volunteers we have been in receipt of our support in the past, whether as a patient or a family member.

"So it's nice to see them come back and take part.

There will be more than 100 hampers delivered by the charity this Christmas.

The event has been greatly supported by the supermarket Waitrose, which delivered enough goods to fill the 160 hampers set to go out this month.

Their help, combined with the donations of other local businesses look set to make this year's offering a striking success.

Lorraine said: "It really helps to have a business that can provide us with that volume of products. If we had to go into the shops to do that ourselves then the logistics alone would be a nightmare, given we'd have to go back and forth.

"It just saves us so much time and it means a lot that they would be willing to do that."

But the help has not stopped there.

By sheer chance, the CEO crossed paths with social media Influencer Louise Pentland at an awards event.

Louise is from Northampton and currently has 2.8 million followers on Instagram and 2.25 million subscribers on YouTube.

Louise's mother had stayed at the Talbot Butler ward at Northampton General Hospital, somewhere that the charity frequently donates gifts to.

Shortly after, the influencer visited the charity's base, found in BizSpace Northampton, along with her daughter. The pair helped to package 37 hampers.

Louise said: "Not only do I think Lorraine is just an incredible woman but personally, her story and passion really resonated with me.

"I lost my own mother to breast cancer when I was a child – she passed away at 37.

"When I saw Lorraine was looking for hamper donations I was thrilled to donate and help. Lorraine then asked if I would like to support in making up the hampers too - I jumped at the chance.

"I took my daughter Darcy along to make the hampers and meet Lorraine this week – it was such a special evening for all of us. It was a memorable moment to share with my own daughter, in memory of my very special mum.

"These hampers aren’t just ‘hampers’ – they mean so much to patients and their families. It’s that bright moment in a tough treatment day, it’s that ‘pick me up’ so many patients need, I only know too well from my own family’s experience with cancer.

"In tough times, they say to ‘look for the helpers’ – Lorraine is one of those helpers, and a light in dark times.

"The world needs more ‘Lorraine’s’ and I just hope many more people donate, volunteer and spread the word of her wonderful work."

Lorraine added: "To have someone like that (Louise) come along who didn't have to, who is busy, means so much.

"Even just sharing about it has had a big impact and we've seen more support and interest coming through.

"For me, I'd say it's amazing that there are people who want to give back to their community, even to people they don't know."

It is safe to say that this Christmas will have no shortage of bubbly once all those presents go out.