Central England Co-operative’s Christmas food bank appeal inspired donations of more than 75,000 items from customers and members, helping to create over 30,000 meals for people in need.

The retailer hosted a special five-week appeal in an effort to provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis.

Over 180 food stores across 16 counties used connections with local food bank providers to encourage people to drop off one or more items.

Over 15,000 items a week were donated, resulting in a total of 75,000 items.

Central England Co-operative chief executive, Martyn Cheatle, said: “We have all been amazed by the fantastic response to our Christmas food bank appeal from customers, members and colleagues.

“As a co-operative, we are proud to be able to support the great work of local food banks across our trading area during the festive season and throughout the year.

“This year we have collected over 75,000 items, a great figure that will mean we have created over 30,000 meals for those in crisis.

“We all want to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who donated, not just to the Christmas Food Bank Appeal but our year round food bank collections.”

The parcels included items such as tea, sugar and cereals and other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products. They also featured festive treats ranging from chocolate to Turkish delight following a plea by food bank partners for people to spread a little ‘festive cheer’ with their donations.