THOSE struggling with food poverty can enjoy fresh produce thanks to the efforts of green-fingered volunteers.

After setting themselves a half-tonne challenge in May, the team at High Grow Darlo are celebrating smashing their target and growing 665kg of food.

Since the charitable challenge began, an array of fruit and vegetables has been delivered to foodbanks in Darlington each week in quantities ranging from four to 108 kg.

Families and individuals in need have benefited from a boost in donations of healthy and nutritious food, including cauliflowers, tomatoes, apples and butternut squash.

Margaret Hughes, from High Grow Darlo, said: “We have done it and we have smashed it.

“Truthfully, we didn’t even think our target was achievable but it goes to show what hard work, dedication and team work can do.

“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who has supported us throughout this journey.

“We have enjoyed every minute of it and we’re not done yet – there’s loads more to come.”

In order to produce the quantity of food needed to hit their target, High Grow Darlo was assisted by Groundwork North East which helped to provide allotment space and teams from Cummings who helped to maintain the site.

Other allotment holders at Bellburn supported the initiative by donating some of their own produce.

Carolyn Todd, the foodbank manager at King’s Church, said the influx of food was helping them to provide meals for some of Darlington’s most vulnerable people.

She praised the volunteers and said: “We were astounded every week and looked upon in amazement as they brought in boxes upon boxes of delicious organically grown produce in abundance, which we were then able to use and distribute to other foodbanks in the area. “This has enabled us and other foodbanks to keep on making up the well-balanced boxes of food to Darlington’s most vulnerable people in food poverty.

“High Grow Darlo has been a huge blessing to a lot of people, they are a great team of volunteers who have such a heart for their community, and we feel privileged in working alongside them.”