Staff and students at a Winshill secondary school are backing the 2017 Feed Our Families campaign to help make Christmas brighter for struggling families.

Youngsters at Abbot Beyne School, which has bases in Mill Hill Lane and Osborne Street, have pledged their support to the appeal after being inspired by previous visits from the YMCA.

The appeal, which aims to feed the hungry in Burton and South Derbyshire during the Christmas period, will this year see donations distributed between four vital causes which work tirelessly to support people 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 under unprecedented pressure.

The children and staff will be donating goods to help four worthy causes this Christmas

Jacqueline Wood, head of Key Stage Three, said: "We have chosen to support the project because we think it is essential that everyone has food and their basic needs met. We want to help to make someone's Christmas a little brighter and a little more positive. We have had visits from the YMCA who have helped to spread the message of helping others and support.

"This year is our first year of joining the campaign and we are looking forward to working with others to help to make a difference to people in the local area. We want to make sure that all families can benefit and think our school can help to make a positive difference."

Miss Wood said she had set mentor groups the challenge of arranging their collection which they will then collate before the appeal ends.

She said: "As a school we promote community values and working together as a team to achieve the best possible results. We want to extend our community values and support into the wider Burton community. We often talk about the school in the community and want to show that we want to help and support others.

"We think everyone should get behind the campaign because the smallest amounts can make a difference. Even just a small tin or donation can affect and impact on someone’s life, making the struggle a little easier."

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.

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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.

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.

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"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."