South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Bangor Campus was steeped in Christmas spirit on Thursday (14 December), when the doors were opened to the local community to offer festive food and treats. Around 150 people including carers and families referred by the Bangor Foodbank and Community Support (BFCS), gathered to enjoy a three-course traditional Christmas dinner, prepared cooked and served by Hospitality and Culinary Arts students working alongside SERC staff and volunteers.
The menu offered vegetable broth, turkey and ham with all the trimmings, and apple pie, as well as mince pies, shortbread and tea and coffee.
There was live music and a free raffle, and SERC Hair and Beauty students offered face painting and nail art. The younger guests were delighted when Santa put in an appearance.
At the same time, a bake sale outside the canteen raised £112 for BFCS as staff and students snapped up seasonal treats.
Hospitality and Culinary Arts students and staff are also preparing 100 frozen meals for the foodbank, which BFCS will give to those who would otherwise not have anything to eat on Christmas day or in the hard few weeks following Christmas.
Paul Mercer, Deputy Head of School, Hospitality and Catering at SERC, said:
“This event was a win for everyone involved. The students consolidated their learning and gained experience in hosting large-scale events, which is essential for progressing to further studies and employment, and local carers and foodbank clients were able to enjoy a lovely meal and a party.
“This project is part of continuing collaboration with BFCS to tackle food poverty in our local areas, this being the third community Christmas dinner SERC has hosted with them. Looking towards the new year, the SERC team is working towards supplying a more constant supply of nutritious frozen meals to BFCS.”
Ken Scott, project manager at BFCS, added:
“Since we established the Bangor Foodbank more than ten years ago, we have given hundreds of thousands of meals and food parcels, and we recognise that at this time of year many people in our area may also be in need of company and community. Teaming with SERC to host a party with food and fun means we can help people who may be feeling isolated, to participate in Christmas celebrations. The students at SERC pulled out all the stops to provide a special meal which delighted the guests and which was perfectly presented and served. It was great to see the families enjoying the entertainment, too.”
The SERC Hospitality team made the finals of the prestigious UK-wide Association of Colleges Beacon Awards, for its innovative food poverty project.
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