SUPERMARKET shoppers have been thanked for donating tonnes of food to those in need ahead of Christmas.

Volunteers from the Warrington Foodbank collected more than five tonnes of food, toiletries and Christmas goodies during a ‘hectic weekend’ at Tesco Extra on Winwick Road as part of a national partnership with the supermarket giant.

Customers were asked to add extra items to their trollies in order to help spread festive cheers to residents facing a bleak Christmas.

These donations will now be distributed from the Warrington Foodbank’s warehouse on Tanning Court in Howley.

Demand for the foodbank has increased by nearly a fifth when compared to a similar period two years ago, with families ‘struggling to cope’ with the extra costs that come with the festive season.

David McDonald, project manager at the Trussell Trust-operated foodbank, said: “We are overwhelmed by the amount of food and toiletries we received during the three-day event, not to mention loads of seasonal goodies which will definitely help families who are struggling to cope with the extra financial burden of Christmas.

“December 2017 saw a huge increase in requests for help at all the Trussell Trust’s outlets.

“Figures released earlier this month showed a 17 per cent increase on the same month in 2016, and we are expecting it to be even higher this year both nationally and here in Warrington.

“We have seen a steady rise throughout the year with more than 60 people being referred to us each week, including many families with children.

“In fact, more than one third of all the food we give out goes to feed children.

The Mayor of Warrington Cllr Karen Mundry and Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid visited the store in order to back the drive.

Warrington Guardian:

David with Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid and volunteers Gwen and Colin Taylor

Customers also gave gifts for the ‘hero’ volunteers.

David added: “Some shoppers gave tins of Miniature Heroes chocolates to the volunteers to say thank you – a gesture that is much appreciated.

“But for us the real heroes are those hundreds of people who thought of others during this festive season and gave so generously.”