Generous Dearne shoppers brought some festive cheer to families in need by donating thousands of meals to a food bank.
Almost 9000 meals were donated over three collections throughout the last 12 months at the Tesco store in Wath-upon-Dearne.
The latest drive in early December saw 3,475 meals donated by shoppers – including a 30 per cent top up by the supermarket chain – to go to food banks in South Yorkshire.
Customers were given a special shopping list and asked to pick up an extra item of food to donate at the end of their shop.
Items given included long-life milk, cereal, tinned food and tea and coffee.
This was Tesco’s third Neighbourhood Food Collection in partnership with food banks charity the Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity FareShare.
A previous collection in June saw 3,835 meals donated at the store, and around 1,500 were donated during the first collection in December 2012, bringing the total to just under 9000.
Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey supported the collection by paying a visit to the store to help volunteers.
The Wath-based Labour politician said families were struggling to make ends meet and food banks were being used more and more in recent years.
He said: “The number of people relying on food banks has tripled over the last 12 months and 500,000 people in Britain are thought to now depend on emergency food aid.
“The people of Wath have been as generous as ever and their donations will go straight to families in need in the local area, who might otherwise have gone hungry this Christmas.”
Alison Reed, store manager at Wath Tesco, added her thanks for customers’ help.
She said: “In the run up to Christmas we wanted to do our bit to feed those in need and the volunteers we had in the store from the two charities were fantastic.
“Our customers were incredibly generous and I would like to thank them all for their support.”
The Trussell Trust said food banks fed 346, 992 people nationwide in 2012-13. Of those helped, 126,889 were children