Stylists at a Burton salon who make the people in the town "look fabulous" are trading dye for donations after pledging to help "those in desperate need" this Christmas.
Staff at Toni and Guy on Station Street will be acting as a collection point for this year’s Feed Our Families campaign, which is run by the Burton Mail.
Owner John Hurley-Shaw, 36, said there was no shame in asking for help and for most people who turn to food banks, it marked a "blip" in their fortunes before they get back on their feet.
He said: "We were a collection point for the appeal last year and it was a massive success. We filled six big bags and were really blown away by people’s generosity.
"We were very keen to do it again this year and we have put a massive box by the front desk which we have decorated with wrapping paper and posters and we have also advertised our involvement with the appeal on our social media pages.
"With everything that is going on at the moment you don’t know who might need the help and next year the clients who are donating may find themselves needing a food bank and it doesn’t bear thinking about what the outcome would be if it wasn’t for campaigns like this.
"Some people may not be in this position all year round but Christmas can be difficult and they may need a bit of help to get through this minor blip."
John, who also volunteers for a soup kitchen in Nottingham where he lives, said the people of Burton and South Derbyshire had supported his business and his staff for 10 years and "it feels amazing to give back."
He said: "From a business point of view Christmas is a good time for us and we just want to help those who for whatever reason have ended up in this less fortunate position.
"People of Burton and the surrounding areas have been so good to me and it is nice to do something for them and show our appreciation to the community.
"When we are not making the clients look fabulous we like to do something for charity three or four times a year and when it comes to Feed Our Families it is unbelievable how many clients come in and have a treatment, then go and do their shopping, pop back in and donate."
John has urged others to get behind the campaign saying "you have nothing to lose but your generosity could do so much."
He said: "I would ask anyone who can to get behind it. It is Christmas, you have nothing to lose and it is so simple.
"I think it is great that campaigns like this are popping up more and it helps break the stigma which shouldn’t even exist. People should never be afraid to ask for help at their time of need; there is no shame in it.
"This is a great opportunity to chip in and support those who need a helping hand and don’t have as much as others do."
Donations from the appeal, which aims to feed the hungry in Burton and South Derbyshire during the Christmas period, will this year 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 Burton Mail readers.
This year it is more important than ever as food banks in Burton and South Derbyshire are being used in record numbers.
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
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 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 email@example.com
And over the next few weeks we will bringing you stories of everyone who donates.