MORE than 100 volunteers - and one MP - came together to pack Christmas hampers for families across South Wales.

A production line of volunteers - including Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith - packed each hamper with the necessary ingredients for a Christmas dinner in addition to festive treats and gifts.

Sian Tucker, centre manager at the Ebbw Vale Institute, and volunteers from the EVI Pantry, also part of the effort in Swansea, agreed to pick up and deliver the hampers to residents of Blaenau Gwent this Friday, December 22.

South Wales Argus: Nick Smith MP with volunteers from EVI Pantry

“It was fantastic to see this brilliant initiative in action. There was so much goodwill on show, with carols being sung and plenty of festive cheer," said Mr Smith.

"I'd like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers that gave up their own time to lend a hand this morning. This has been a big project and it simply would not have been possible without them.

“Everyone deserves a Christmas, free from worrying about whether they can put together a dinner on December 25, and free to enjoy time with their family.

South Wales Argus: Nick Smith MP helped to deliver the hampers on Friday morning“It is terrible that so many are having to choose between heating or eating this Christmas – no one should be faced with choosing whether to put the radiator on instead of food on the table or toys or under the tree.

"This Christmas will be a difficult time for so many families and these packages will hopefully go some way to making things a little easier."

Good cause

The “Everyone Deserves…” campaign, started by Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris, has branched out this year to support people in Neath, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent.

EVI Pantry opened in February with the aim of reducing grocery bills for residents of Blaenau Gwent.

For just £4, members can choose from a range of foods, including pantry staples, frozen essentials and fresh fruit and vegetables, that would usually cost around £20 in a supermarket.

The shop claims to support 200 households in the community with volunteers on hand to assist with any needs.

EVI Pantry will re-open on Monday, January 8, 2024.