Bidfood’s Christmas Gift

After the huge success last year, Bidfood’s Christmas Gift is back for 2018 and is set to be bigger and better than ever! We will once again be celebrating those who have given up their Christmas Day and/or Boxing Day this year and/or last year to make the holiday season special for others.

Nominate someone you know who is working Christmas Day or Boxing Day this year, or worked last year, to have Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and a special gift on us!

Nominations open on Monday, 15th October so until then, here are a handful of last years’ winners:

Ian Smart – Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

Devoted kitchen porter, Ian Smart from Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust was one of the lucky winners of Bidfood’s Christmas Gift. The judges saw Ian’s commitment to his job and the hospital’s residents as going above and beyond at what, as a committed Christian, is a valuable time for him. They acknowledged Ian’s dedication to helping patients enjoy a much-appreciated festive feast at a time when they are unable to be with their families

Speaking about his win, Ian said: “I had no idea I had even been nominated so it was a shock to hear I’d won Bidfood’s Christmas gift. Working over the holiday season can be a really rewarding experience as all the patients, as well as staff, are grateful for the effort the team puts in.

“Being in hospital on Christmas day can be upsetting for patients and their families, which is why I try my hardest to do a good job and make sure there’s a smile on everyone’s face when delivering their food.”

Rachael King – Subway

Franchisee of a Subway outlet in Handforth simply blew away the judges and became one of the winners of the Bidfood Christmas Gift campaign. They were impressed by Rachael’s commitment to ensuring no one in her local community spent the festive period alone. On 25th December, the shop opens its doors to the less fortunate for ‘Arthur’s Christmas,’ in memory of a local customer who had regularly visited the outlet but sadly passed away in 2016. After his death, it was discovered that he had no remaining family in the area and visited the franchise every day to interact and chat with staff.

Speaking about her win, Rachael said: “I was completely shocked to hear I’d been nominated and amazed to have won. We open our doors on Christmas day because no one should be alone, cold or hungry at this time of year. It’s such a rewarding experience and my kids even get involved. It’s important for them to understand that Christmas isn’t about receiving presents and that many others are much less fortunate than them.

“I’m looking forward to having a second Christmas and plan to treat everyone who volunteers in Subway and gives up their time to help those who need it most.”

Marc Carpenter – CTC Kingshurst Academy

Ex-Marine turned Head Chef from CTC Kingshurst Academy in North Solihull won Bidfood’s Christmas Gift 2017 for the education sector for going above and beyond and fully committing himself to the local community.

At Christmas, Marc takes it upon himself to ensure everyone is able to have a special day – including pensioners who would otherwise spend the day alone and struggling families – serving up community Christmas dinners for around 500 people.

However, his good will is evident all year round, from his foodbank contributions to his dedication to the children at the academy.

Speaking about his win, Marc said: “I thought someone was having a laugh when they told me I’d won, but I am looking forward to spending my second Christmas with my wife and two children in the new year.

“It means the world to me to provide the kids and families in the area with a proper Christmas. I made savings and contributions towards the meal throughout the year, meaning that in December we were able to put together a three-course Christmas meal for over 30 people for less than a pound a portion. For me, the reward is seeing local coming together to enjoy the day.”

Kate Bagwell – The Laurels

The care home sector was the only category in the competition to warrant two deserving winners of which one was, Kate Bagwell, Head Chef at The Laurels, a small and friendly care home based in Somerset.

The judges were impressed by Kate’s dedication to providing residents with a festive feast to remember. For the past three years, Kate has taken it upon herself to serve up Christmas dinner to all 20 residents at The Laurels.

Speaking about her win, Kate said: “I was absolutely delighted to hear I had been nominated, let alone won. It’s always such a rewarding experience to help those who might otherwise be at home alone during the festive season. Everyone is always so grateful for the hard work we put in, which makes it all the more worthwhile.”

Bev Wernham – Thistle Court Nursing Home

Bev Wernham, a Kitchen Assistant at Thistle Court Nursing Home, an end stage dementia care facility in the rolling hills of Monmouthshire was another deserving winner of Bidfood’s Christmas Gift.

Bev originally took the job as a temporary position but, 23 years later, she’s worked most Christmases to make the day special for over 30 residents at Thistles Court. The judges saw Bev’s commitment during the festive time as a real act of selflessness, giving up time with her daughter and husband.

Speaking about the win, Bev said: “I was really surprised, I didn’t know anything about it until I was told about winning – I thought my boss was joking.

“For me, it’s great to be a part of that time of year for the residents. We’re normally up and in the kitchen by 7am but I love my job which makes it all worthwhile. Every year we have a party and a Christmas dinner for the residents and their families. Many of them are unable to get out anymore, but there’s no reason why the festivities can’t be brought to them.

“I have a daughter but she’s 24 and doesn’t need to be looked after so it’s nice to be needed and be able to help. That said, I am looking forward to having a second Christmas with my family.”

Juanita Yansen – The Blue Boar

Another deserving winner of Bidfood’s Christmas Gift was Juanita Yansen, Restaurant Manager at The Blue Boar in Abridge, Essex. The judge’s saw Juanita’s commitment to bringing joy and cheer not just to every customer, but to her team members working over the busy festive period as reason enough to be rewarded. Taking a hands-on approach to her role, Juanita gets stuck in, helping her team to serve over 300 customers on Christmas Day alone.

Speaking about her win, Juanita said: “I had no idea I had even been nominated so it was a complete shock. For me, working over Christmas at The Blue Boar doesn’t feel like a chore – I love what I do, and my team are like family to me. That said, I understand everyone is giving up time with family and friends to be here, so I try to make it fun by encouraging staff to get into the festive spirit by dressing up, and of course we treat them to a well-earned Christmas dinner at the end of a long shift.”

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