Hartlepool Foodbank is preparing for one of its biggest appeals of the year to prevent people going hungry this Christmas.
Volunteers for the charity hope to collect one and a half tonnes of food when they set up stall in the town’s Tesco Extra, in Burn Road, from today to Saturday, December 1.
It is part of the UK’s biggest Christmas food collection involving more than 2,600 Tesco stores with the charities FareShare and the Trussell Trust food bank network.
Abi Knowles, co-ordinator of Hartlepool Foodbank, which is part of the Trussell Trust, said: “We generally raise about a tonne and a half of food over three days which enables us to keep supporting people, not only in the lead-up to Christmas, but into the new year when times are hard and when we go a bit quiet for donations, so it makes a massive difference for us.
“It really is vital we get good support from it.”
Customers will be greeted by volunteers and hand out a list of the items most needed. Items Hartlepool Foodbank is particularly short of at the moment are packet rice, UHT milk, long-life juice, and tinned fruit.
Toiletries can also be given as they are included in the parcels given out by the food bank.
More than 3.34 million meals were donated by generous Tesco customers nationally last year, and the supermarket is hoping that shoppers will be just as generous this year.
Emma Revie, Chief Executive at The Trussell Trust, said: “Food banks across the country will be doing all they can to provide the best possible emergency support so people don’t go hungry – but to make sure we’re prepared for what could be our busiest December yet, our network needs your support.
“During every Food Collection we’ve been humbled by the staggering generosity of Tesco customers, store colleagues and volunteers, and as we look to the start of the collection, we would love to have your support once again. Your generosity will help stop hunger this Christmas.”
Tesco will topping up the value of the food donated by the public by 20%, providing additional funds to support the charities in their work this Christmas.
Jason Tarry, CEO of Tesco, said: “Tesco Food Collection scheme is the UK’s biggest Christmas food collection, and at Tesco we are glad to be playing our part in helping people in need this Christmas.
“We know that the items that our customers donate can make a real difference to people who really need that little bit of extra help this year – whether it is a food parcel for someone at a time of crisis, or a hot meal which means that a vulnerable person does not feel lonely this Christmas.
“Once again we are topping up all the customer donations by a further 20%, and I’d encourage our customers to put something extra in their baskets to donate.”
The Hartlepool team still has a couple of places for any volunteers.