CUSTOMERS at Tesco stores across Basingstoke have donated hundreds of meals to people in need this Christmas.

Shoppers gave 854 meals for food charities FareShare and The Trussell Trust during the Tesco Food Collection, which ran in stores in Basingstoke from November 29 to December 1.

Customers were asked to donate long-life items to help people in need as part of their usual shop.

With this year’s UK-wide total of 3.5 million meals donated to the charities.

FareShare is the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste, while The Trussell Trust runs a network of food banks.

Food donated to foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network is given in emergency food parcels to people referred because they cannot afford to feed themselves and their families.

To help the charities in their work, Tesco is once again topping up the value of the customer donations by 20 per cent, providing the two charities with funding to run the foodbanks and distribute the food to those in need.

Lindsay Boswell, CEO at FareShare, thanked Basingstoke Tesco customers for their generosity.

He said: “The food donated at the Tesco Food Collection will make a tremendous difference to the thousands of charities and community groups that FareShare supports.

“These groups are doing amazing work with some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

Thanks to the generosity of Tesco shoppers over the festive season as well as all the volunteers who made the store collections such a success.”

Emma Revie, Chief Executive at The Trussell Trust, said: “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.”

Jason Tarry, Tesco’s UK CEO, said: “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 per cent and I am proud that together we are able to feed so many people in need this Christmas.”