GENEROUS shoppers handed over sacks of rice, pasta and tinned food to help the Basingstoke Food Bank to boost its stocks.

In less than three hours last Saturday, up to 12 crates worth of food was donated by shoppers at Tesco, in Chineham.

The donations will provide much-needed food for the 105 people currently receiving help from the food bank.

Volunteer Angela Smith, from Eastrop, said the haul will help those who need it most. She added: “The food bank is important for people who are on low incomes, and one-parent families – this outreach helps them at a very important time of year.”

The Basingstoke Food Bank is run by a collaboration of 25 borough churches, and is based at the Trinity Methodist Church, in Sarum Hill.

It launched in October and last month helped more than 80 different people, referred to them from partner agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, and social services.

The organisations issue up to three vouchers to people or families in crisis. Each voucher is exchanged for three days worth of food.

Colin Grant, the food bank’s spokesman, said events like the one at Tesco are vital to help keep stocks high. “It is important to highlight that in places like Basingstoke, there are people in real need,” he said. “We have good stocks at the moment, but as the number of people needing help keeps increasing, then we need a constant supply of stuff coming in.”

Julie Shepherd, Tesco’s community champion, helped to organise the Saturday collection and said she was amazed at the support from shoppers. “We are very pleased with the kind of reaction the collection has got,” she said. “It is good to know that people here are ready to help.”