Central England Co-operative has launched its Easter Foodbank Appeal, encourgaing customers and members to help people in need.

The society collected more than 60,000 items for its Christmas Foodbank Appeal at the end of last year. The appeal helped create more than 16,000 meals and Central England Co-op wants to generate similiar interest for its Easter appeal.

Shoppers can drop off food and toiletries using more than 200 Easter egg-themed foodbank bins at Central England Co-op food stores across 16 counties.

The appeal will run from March 19 and April 2 and items collected will be turned into parcels with enough food to create three days of meals.

Central England Co-operative chief executive Martyn Cheatle said: “Everyone involved with the society was delighted with the amazing response by customers and members to our Christmas Foodbank Appeal and this is why we have decided to help people in need this Easter.

“Our Christmas campaign saw enough food donated to create 5,500 food parcels and make a real difference in our communities. We want to continue to help people by continuing our great work with foodbanks and this is why we are launching our Easter Foodbank Appeal to encourage our customers and members to help provide vital food and supplies for people across the area.”

Paul Brookhouse, from Hope Centre foodbank in Derbyshire, operates a weekly foodbank for local people. He said: “We have to remember that there are people who are in very difficult situations all year round who need our help and support.

“During Easter we ask for people not to just donate chocolate or Easter eggs, but the vital everyday items we need such as cereal, tinned meat and fish and UHT milk. Just one item would make a huge difference to help us as a foodbank ensure that people do not go hungry.”

Central England Co-operative has permanent food bank collection points in hundreds of its stores and the society works with more than 50 different foodbanks.