A group of work colleagues are currently putting their best foot forward and moving their way through a mammoth step challenge to raise funds for Newcastle’s Pantry Foodbank. The men and women, who work at the Donard Post Office and Gift Store, have taken on the challenge of completing two million measured steps by the end of this month. From walking and running, to dancing and even exercising their way through the challenge, they are encouraging people to donate whatever they can towards their fundraising step challenge. The Pantry Foodbank was set up in 2014 as a nondenominational response to a growing awareness of real need in the local community. The current multi-faceted crisis impacting on the community, and the wider world, has brought about a sharp rise in demand for foodbank assistance. Based in Newcastle, the local foodbank also covers areas including Annalong, Dundrum and Castlewellan. Locally, in one week alone this month, The Pantry was called upon to provide food for 67 families. Prices and the cost of living are rising steeply. “We feel ourselves in the Pantry to be limping along behind an ever-accelerating emergency,” said Manus O’Boyle, chairman of the local foodbank. Thanking the team for deciding to raise funds for the charity, Manus said this latest initiative in aid of The Pantry is much appreciated and every penny raised will be put to great use, helping people who need a little assistance. “The Post Office staff have generously volunteered to do two million measured steps to raise funds for the Pantry Foodbank. The ‘steppers’ are asking for sponsorship for their efforts and we at the foodbank would like to encourage everyone to support them,” he said. With somewhere in the region of one million of these steps already recorded, the nine participants are well on their way to reaching their goal and, for all you know, they might well surpass it! Postmaster Ann-Marie Savage said she and her colleagues, Kerrie Watt, Ann George, Nicola Davies, Lee Parr, Cathal Rooney, Jackie Wilson, Michelle Cunningham and Tom Fitzpatrick, want to raise essential funds for, as well as awareness of, The Pantry. “We wanted to do something for charity and felt it was really important to do something locally which would give members of our community a bit of a helping hand,” she explained. “We had heard of the foodbank and, once we found out a little more about its work, we realised it was such a worthwhile cause.” Anne-Marie, who came up with the idea of this fundraiser, explained that she and her colleagues hope to be able to raise £500 for the foodbank. “We really hope we can make a difference and are in a position to be able to give the volunteers who run the foodbank a cash injection to help them carry on doing the wonderful work they do, helping ensure people have food on their tables as well as being able to spread the word of this initiative and its good work,” she added. If you would like to donate towards the fundraiser, you can do so online via www.gofundme.com/f/the-pantry-foodbank or you can make a donation via one of the collection boxes in-store. If you would like to contact the foodbank, please call 07517 766006.