Worcester Foodbank is opening an extra day a week in an effort to fill a record number of empty stomachs and children’s stockings during the countdown to Christmas.

The charity will open every Tuesday during December to ensure as few people as possible go hungry over the festive season, while giving supporters more time to donate festive food and gifts for children.

The food bank is preparing for Christmas against the backdrop of unprecedented demand for emergency food. Volunteers handed out more than 3,500 three-day food parcels during the first six months of 2019/20 – up 26 per cent on the same period last year.

A successful harvest appeal has helped the charity to keep pace with demand but it now needs to ride a tide of festive goodwill to bolster stocks ahead of a challenging winter.

Grahame Lucas, Worcester Foodbank Manager, said: “It’s getting harder every year but we’re determined not to allow hunger to deprive people of the joy and hope Christmas offers. We always receive fantastic support from the community and we’re going to need every ounce of that generosity to bless the growing number of people left with nowhere else to turn at Christmas.”

As well as donating individual items, supporters also have the option of filling up a small, medium or large ‘Christmas bag’ packed with a mix of everyday essentials and festive treats. The suggested bags vary in value from £5 to £20 and can include items such as chocolate bars, biscuits, tins of meat or fruit and drinking chocolate.

People of all ages are also set to fight festive hunger by starting their own Reverse Advent Calendar. Instead of tucking into a chocolate treat, people can celebrate the festive countdown by putting aside an item for food bank in a box every day which can be handed over in the run-up to Christmas. Secret santas are also being sought to donate unwrapped new toys for boys and girls that the charity can give out.

Christmas shoppers have a golden opportunity to support the appeal this Thursday (21 November) when food bank kicks-off a three-day food collection at Tesco in St Peter’s and Warndon.

For more, visit worcester.foodbank.org.uk