Most of us will have a wonderful Christmas. It will be full of joy, presents and mouth watering food. Now pause for a minute and try to imagine what it would be like if you had next to nothing - not even enough to eat.
This will be the sad reality for many - and they won't all be in another country or city; they will be living right here in Burton and South Derbyshire.
You will have passed them in the street, their children will be at school with yours and they might even live next door. But the chances are you won't know they are struggling to even feed themselves because it is not something that is talked about openly.
This is why the Burton Mail is launching its Feed Our Families appeal for 2017 because we believe no-one should go without the basics, especially at Christmas. Together a simple gesture - just one tin of food - from people in the area will make a struggling family's Christmas wish come true as they will be able to put food on the table.
Launching today, this is the fourth year we have run the Feed Our Families appeal. It sees the communities of Burton and South Derbyshire come together to donate food to those in need at Christmas time.
This year, it has been decided that donations will be distributed between four vital causes which work tirelessly to support those in society who need a helping hand.
Those that will benefit 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.
Last year was the most successful campaign ever, with a record 15,000 food items feeding around 1,000 families over Christmas, thanks to you our ever generous readers.
This year it is more important than ever as growing demand for food banks reflects the difficulties families on our doorstep continue to face.
Emma Turton, editor of the Burton Mail, said: "We are very proud of the Feed Our Families campaign and we did not think twice about running it again this year.
"We are always staggered by the support we get from the community – not only those who donate tins of food – but the businesses, schools and organisations that set up collection points or hold special events to collect food items.
"Sadly we are hearing that food banks are being used more than ever and in the current climate it is essential we keep them stocked up.
"To collect in excess of 15,000 food items last year was incredible and we are determined to do the same – or even better – this year. Thank you for all your support."
During the last few weeks the Burton Mail has been contacting business, schools and organisations asking for support and we have been blown away by the response.
Supermarkets across Burton and South Derbyshire have been particularly quick to back the campaign, and offer convenient drop-off points for food items while a number of businesses and venues have also been quick to offer up their support, too.
Collection points will welcome any non-perishable foods that can be easily stored by the charities and then handed out over the festive season.
A good variety of items is much appreciated. Beans and soup tend to be the most commonly given, so alternative options to those are particularly welcome.
If your business, school or organisation has collected non-perishable items and are able to drop them off directly at the YMCA, CVS, Eaton Foundation or Salvation Army, we are extremely grateful. But if not, don't worry arrangements can be made to get it sorted.
But dropping off your own collections, greatly assists the volunteers, who will be kept very busy over the next few weeks.
The YMCA address to take donations too is the shop at 24 Borough Road, Burton, DE14 2DA. If you are in South Derbyshire they can be dropped off at 48 Grove Street, Swadlincote DE11 9DD.The address for the Eaton Foundation is 21 Orchard Street, Burton, DE14 3SJ.
While donations to the Salvation Army can go to its base in Rangemore Street.
Volunteers from each charity can also collect items. To contact the CVS for a collection call 01283219761, or to speak to the YMCA call 01283 547133. The Eaton Foundation can be contacted on 01283 568341.
The Salvation Army can be called on 07514666759.
Please give as much notice as possible.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
And over the next few weeks we will bringing you stories of everyone who donates.
Editor Emma Turton calls for readers to back Feed Our Families
"After the incredible success of last year's Feed Our Families appeal it was a no-brainer that the Burton Mail would launch and run it again for 2017.
"We know finances are still tight for a lot of our readers, so we are not asking people for money or to dig too deep for the appeal: instead we are asking our readers to buy an extra tin or packet of food when they do their weekly shopping and drop it in to one of the collection points.
"We want to make sure the food banks in Burton and South Derbyshire have plenty of produce this Christmas, ready to be handed out to the people in our community who really need it this festive season.
"The response last year was phenomenal, the charities which shared the donations were overwhelmed with the generosity of our readers: we hope to match or beat last year when more than 15,000 items were donated.
"Already we have several schools, supermarkets and major employers in Burton and South Derbyshire on board.
"They have offered to set up donation boxes or run a donation day to boost the campaign.
"It really is fantastic to see, yet no surprise."
"I want to thank, in advance, every single reader who donates to make sure the most needy in our communities have food in their cupboards this Christmas."
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)
- 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
- Baked beans
- Spaghetti hoops
- Pasta sauce
- Savoury rice
- Pot Noodles
- Rice pudding
- Cereal bars