A SALTASH teaching assistant and her groom had a wedding gift list with a difference – they were given their combined bodyweight in supplies to donate to Plymouth Foodbank.
John and Abbie Petrie collected food weighing more than 21 stone after making the unusual request that their wedding guests bring a donation for the foodbank as part of their gift.
John 30, who is an enabler with disabled students at Plymouth University, said they wanted to do something good for those who can’t enjoy a feast like they did on their wedding day.
“We started to think about a wedding as a big feast and it would be nice to do something for people who can’t enjoy that – it seemed wrong that we’d all be stuffing our faces while some people don’t have enough,” he said. “We’re not well off ourselves but we have a good support network – and some people don’t have that.”
The pair included suggestions of donations for the foodbank in their invitations, on the back of their own wedding breakfast menu.
The haul ended up filling two large tables at their reception marquee in Tipton St John, near Honiton – one guest even brought one of every item on the list.
John and his new wife Abbie, 26, a teaching assistant at Brunel Primary School and Nursery Academy in Saltash, filled the boot of their car to get all the supplies to the foodbank’s base in Manor Street, Stonehouse.
John said: “I was quite surprised – I thought people would bring a pack of noodles or a tin of chicken soup but people had bags and bags of stuff.
“The staff at the foodbank were really pleased and thought it was a really good idea.
“Everyone is looking to do something different for weddings and we thought it was something that would suit us and suit our friends.”
The pair have been a couple for 10 years and got engaged on March 16 2013 – Abbie’s 25th birthday.
John added: “It was a fantastic day, and the weather held out for us. it didn’t rain until the evening when we were all on the dancefloor anyway.
“I’m a firm believer in societies being judged by how they treat their most vulnerable members, and we are currently falling short.
“Hopefully this will change soon but, until then, it’s important that those of us who can help do where possible.”
More than 8,000 people have received help from Plymouth Foodbank in the last 12 months and 60,000kg of food has been donated.
Foodbank support worker Katy Bartlett said: “It was absolutely fantastic. We’re seeing an increase in the amount of people who are accessing the service so we’re always looking for donations.
“All the items donated from the wedding we were running short of, so it really helped us.
“It’s great when people have their own ideas to fundraise or want to use a special occasion to donate.
“We were just overwhelmed – it’s the first time we have had donations from a wedding and it’s fantastic.”
Sources: Bill Hayes of http://matteringsofmind.wordpress.com via Cornish Guardian