THE generosity of Clacks residents helped make Christmas that little bit more special for children and families across the Wee County.

Kind-hearted individuals and organisations embraced the spirit of giving, dropping off an abundance of donations to The Gate Foodbank in Alloa.

Following an appeal, around 350 advent calendars were handed in for youngsters, along with an ample amount of sweets, selection boxes and more.

As well as running its normal referral service, the foodbank collected items to make the festive period a little bit easier on those in need.

People also gave some of the items traditionally-associated with the holiday, such as mince pies, shortbread, chocolates, biscuits and cakes.

In addition, they also handed in a huge range of non-Christmas items, which will help The Gate massively at the beginning of the year.

Adrienne Hilton, foodbank coordinator, said: "It was absolutely fantastic; every year I get more and more amazed by the donations that people give.

"[It's important] that people know and appreciate that we are so grateful and that this will help us for the next two or three months.

"A lot of the donations are the most requested and least donated items that come in.

"We have probably doubled or quadrupled the number of items that we have got for both toiletries and household cleaning and packs like that."

The foodbank was able to put together 62 family packages – outwith its normal crisis service – distributed through family centres, Homestart, criminal justice and family liaison.

It handed out chocolate treats via organisations it works with, such as health visitors, social services, and gave items to schools for Christmas parties.

The support came from right across the board this year, with local youngsters even making it their mission to help.

One youngster called on the support of friends to make and sell items at craft fayres, allowing them to then donate 88kg worth of food.

And two siblings decided to save up their pocket money throughout the year, leading to the purchase of around 15 carrier bags filled with items.

The reverse advent calendar, where people put in an item every day of December, also proved popular.

And support came from a range of organisations such as McDonald's, Co-op Funeral Parlour, CTSI, Kilncraigs, Diageo, Royal Mail and Mears.

Adrienne said: "We want to really say thank you to our local community, because it makes our job so worthwhile when we see how people respond."

The foodbank is currently looking for volunteers who can spare an hour or two to help sort items.

They would not have to attend every week, but simply be able to give a bit of time.

For more information, please contact The Gate on 01259 218766.