Generous shoppers in Hartlepool made sure desperate families did not go hungry this Christmas

Erin Gallagher-Smith, left, and Abi Knowles of the Hartlepool Foodbank.
Erin Gallagher-Smith, left, and Abi Knowles of the Hartlepool Foodbank.

Generous Hartlepool shoppers donated enough food to make almost 8,000 meals for people in need this Christmas.

Customers of Tesco Extra dug extra deep to support a three-day collection by Hartlepool Foodbank last month.

Food items stored at the Foodbank Church Street.

Food items stored at the Foodbank Church Street.

They dropped off so much long-life, tinned and packets of food it was enough to make 7,858 meals for one of Hartlepool’s leading food charities.

Tesco said the food drive, which ran in stores up and down the country for food charities The Trussell Trust, which runs a network of food banks, and FareShare was more successful than ever.

In total, 3.5 million meals were donated to the charities in the run up to Christmas, and more than 52 million meals since the Tesco Food Collection scheme began in 2012.

Tesco’s UK CEO Jason Tarry said: “Year upon year we are taken aback by the generosity of customers who give to the Tesco Food Collection in our stores the length and breadth of the UK.

“We know that this annual collection makes a real difference to the charities we work with, and I would like to thank everyone who has donated, volunteered or helped in store.

“For our part, we are topping up the value of all the donations by 20% and I am proud that together with our customers and charity partners we are able to feed so many people in need this Christmas.”

Ahead of the collection, Hartlepool Foodbank coordinator Abi Knowles told how important the Tesco collection was for them, with it normally generating about a tonne and a half of food.

The collection was also boosted by Hartlepool singer Erin Gallagher who sang in the store on the Saturday and raised £365 for the food bank.

Emma Revie, Chief Executive at The Trussell Trust, which Hartlepool Foodbank is part of, said: “Our foodbank network has spent the last month making sure that people referred to them with no money for food don’t go hungry this Christmas.

“This work has been made possible thanks to the incredible generosity of Tesco customers, store colleagues and volunteers during the Food Collection.

“Thank you for your support – your generosity has stopped hunger this Christmas.”

Hartlepool Foodbank, in Church Street, reopens tomorrow after the Christmas break.

Donations can be left any time at most of Hartlepool’s supermarkets.