ANDOVER Foodbank has welcomed a festive boost from Tesco as the store prepares to launch the biggest ever food collection appeal in the UK, with the help of food charity FareShare and foodbanks charity the Trussell Trust.

Help Feed People In Need will take place at Tesco stores across the South East this weekend and will help provide much needed food for thousands of local people this Christmas.

Trevor Sleath, project coordinator at Andover Foodbank, said: “Over 3,050 people have been helped by Andover Foodbank since the start of 2012 as more people struggle to make ends meet in the current economic climate.

“This Christmas will be tough for many local people so Andover Foodbank is delighted to be part of Tesco’s ‘Help Feed People in Need’ appeal.

“We’re hoping that many local people will donate at a Tesco store to help stop people going hungry in the Test Valley this Christmas.”

Philip Clarke, chief executive of Tesco said: “This Christmas, we want to use our scale and our links with communities across the country to help tackle this growing problem.

“We recently held some local food collections and were overwhelmed by the support from our customers, who have shown incredible generosity.”

Chris Mould, executive chairman of the Trussell Trust said: “Every day we meet parents who are skipping meals to feed their children, or people who are forced to choose between eating and heating.

“This winter is looking particularly bleak as food and energy prices rise whilst incomes remain static.

“We are delighted that Tesco is working with The Trussell Trust’s network of over 280 UK foodbanks and FareShare to help stop people going hungry this Christmas.”

Collections will take place at Tesco stores across the country and between 10am and 4pm at Tesco River Way in Andover.

Tesco will be topping up total donations by 30 per cent and will also be providing funding to both organisations.