The depths of lockdown, social distancing, masks the norm when out and about plus the coldest February for years… all that could add up to the saddest ever Valentine’s Day. Not so if you live in Lewes and if Mark Perryman has anything to do with it! Mark, pioneer of the Lewes all-day supermarket food bank collections, found a way to run a Valentine’s Day appeal despite the severe restrictions.
Still reeling from a staggering 7,002 food items collected at the Christmas collection, he had an idea: “I thought it’s wildly ambitious, but we’ll try to collect £ 7,002 online and then, instead of collecting outside the stores, we’ll have small numbers of people shopping inside with whatever money we manage to raise.” Amazingly, the online appeal raised a grand total of £10,540, a testimony to how close this important cause is to people’s hearts in Lewes.
The assembled Lewes cultural, sporting, political and faith groups – bolstered by first-timers Lewes FC Men’s First Team, Plumpton Athletic FC Juniors and Cycle Lewes – made quite a spectacle. They wore bright pink face coverings and hi-vis jackets, created by Lewes designer Sophie Gibson and produced locally by Dolly’s Scrub Hub and Another Fine Mesh.
The Valentine’s appeal shoppers spent their £ 7,002 on a total of 7,164 items of food and household goods, a new record, for the four food banks. The balance of the money raised, more than £3,000, will be handed to the food banks to help tide them over until Easter, when another collection is planned.