Two popular Burton businesses are doing their bit for the community after being moved by the plight of struggling families so poor they cannot even put food on the table.

Staff at Specsavers Opticians in High Street, Burton, have got behind the Burton Mail’s Feed Our Families campaign for another year after donating a successful collection last year.

The appeal, which aims to feed the hungry in Burton and South Derbyshire over the Christmas period will see donations of food distributed between four vital causes which work tirelessly to support those in society who need a helping hand.

Those that will receive food to give out to thr needy are Burton YMCA and South Derbyshire Council for Voluntary Services (CVS), as well as Burton’s Salvation Army and The Eaton Foundation, which is also based in the town.

This time is the fourth year the Burton Mail has run its Feed Our Families campaign, with last time's the most successful appeal ever, with a record 15,000 food items feeding around 1,000 families over Christmas, thanks to generous readers.

This year it is more important than ever as food banks in Burton and South Derbyshire are being used more than ever before.

Specsavers dispensing supervisor Sam Wheeler, 40, said it is something the team are quite supportive of as they "work in the heart of the town and can see the people it can directly help".

Launch of the Burton Mail Feed our Families campaign for Christmas 2017
Businesses, schools and individuals are being asked to get involved with this year's Feed Our Families campaign. Pictured are the Burton Mail team which is appealing for support

She said: "Last year was really good and we ended up filing two or three big boxes with all sorts of donations from staff and customers.

"We do try to do a lot for the community so we are doing a bit of a display in the window.

"At Christmas it tends to hit home a bit more and there are so many people living in poverty: people that can’t afford to feed themselves or their children.

"I think people should think how they would feel in that situation and try to imagine that desperation and sadness and they should get behind it."

Down the road in Falcon Close, Royal Mail staff are also doing their bit after they came across the appeal in the Burton Mail.

Postlady Annette Wright, 57, from Stapenhill, said the staff at the Burton delivery office had never taken part in the appeal before.

She said: "When we saw it in the newspaper I couldn’t help but think how lucky we all are to have jobs and I thought it was a really good idea.

"I told them the plan in the team briefing and I got a big box, which I stuck the Burton Mail article to and it was filled up right away. I was amazed but not surprised.

"With having quite a few staff who live in Burton and delivering in the area we thought we should give something back to the community.

"It is awful and really sad that the society we live in people are still going hungry."

How can you donate to Feed Our Families?

For many people Christmas is a happy time, but for some it can be anything but.

A few pounds could be the difference between a family in need eating or going hungry. Just 50p could buy a tin of soup, and help keep a child warm. So where can you donate? We are appealing for people to pop one extra tin in their weekly shop and donate that. Of course, if you can afford more that would be brilliant.

There will be drop-off points at Burton in Sainsbury's, in Union Street, and Sainsbury's, in Civic Way, Swadlincote, with many more businesses soon expected to get involved.

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If you are a pupil at a local school, check if there is a donation point there and if not, ask your teachers to get your school involved.

Punch Taverns is backing the campaign, as are schools including Granville Academy and Paulet High School.

We want you, our generous readers, to also donate, whether that be setting up a collection point at your youth club or in the pub. If you want to get involved, please contact reporter Rhea Turner on 01283 245047 or email rhea.turner@burtonmail.co.uk

And over the next few weeks we will bringing you stories of everyone who donates.

What can I donate to Feed Our Families?

For those of you who have made the generous decision to give something to the needy this Christmas, you may be a bit unsure of just what the food banks are after to get the most out of the foods. Therefore we have produced a list of non-perishable items that will be gratefully received.

Items which you can donate:

  • UHT milk (500ml or 1 litre cartons or screw top bottles)
  • Coffee
  • Teabags
  • Sugar
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Tinned meals
  • Tinned meat for Irish stew, chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognese, ravioli, macaroni cheese
  • Tinned hot dogs
  • Minced beef, curry, meatballs, etc
  • Tinned pies
  • Corned beef
  • Tinned or packet vegetables
  • Tinned fruit
  • Tinned tuna, salmon, sardines, etc
  • Soup
  • Baked beans
  • Spaghetti
  • Spaghetti hoops
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Rice
  • Savoury rice
  • Noodles
  • Pot Noodles
  • Rice pudding
  • Custard
  • Biscuits
  • Cereal bars
  • Crackers
  • Crisps
  • Chocolate
  • Jam