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The £1m donation is to be split between the Trussell Trust and FareShare

Tesco is donating £1m to food banks and food charities to help them face what has been described as “their most difficult winter ever” after a cohort of food banks launched an emergency appeal.

The supermarket is splitting a £1m donation between food bank network the Trussell Trust and surplus food redistribution charity FareShare, to help meet mounting levels of demand in the run-up to Christmas.

Tesco said the funding boost was set to help charity partners who have been hit by “a double whammy of unprecedented demand and soaring operation costs” this winter.

The Trussell Trust launched an emergency appeal this week after seeing a 46% increase in food parcels handed out during August and September.

A delegation of representatives from some of the UK’s biggest food charities warned the government their local operations were running out of food because of unprecedented demand for their services.

In a joint letter to 10 Downing Street, bosses for Trussell Trust, Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) and Feeding Britain called for measures to prevent a winter of hunger for thousands of people across the country.

Read more: As donations take a hit, can food banks prevent a winter disaster?

Earlier this month, The Grocer reported that food banks were having to fork out thousands of pounds a month on additional grocery shops as demand from users vastly outpaced supply.

At the same time, food banks and other frontline charities are being hit by soaring energy and fuel costs, which has led many to cut down working hours, reduce van deliveries, and even let go of staff.

FareShare has been vocal about how its regional centres are facing rising bills to keep fridges and freezers running, and to keep delivery vans on the road.

FareShare Midlands expects its fuel bills to be up to 70% higher this winter, even after government support.

Tesco UK and ROI CEO Jason Tarry said that, during a recent visit to a food bank in Lambeth, London, he saw “first hand the challenges of supporting more people against a background of rising costs”.

“That’s why I’m proud Tesco is one of the first to respond to the Trussell Trust’s emergency appeal with a £1m donation,” he said.

“We hope this will help both charities – and food banks across the UK – continue the vital work they do as we go into winter.”

Tesco has worked in partnership with both groups on an ongoing basis for the past decade. In the past year alone, it donated 20 million meals of surplus food to FareShare, and Tesco and its customers are the biggest single source of food donations for the Trussell Trust’s food banks.

Trussell Trust CEO Emma Revie said: “This tsunami of need has led to the Trussell Trust launching our first-ever emergency appeal, and we are extremely grateful to Tesco for pledging help for our food banks at the time when they need it most.”

FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell added: “The 9,500 charities and community groups FareShare supports in the UK say demand for our food is higher than ever.

“We are incredibly grateful to Tesco for their generous donation that will help us to continue providing food to the people most in need that will rely on their local charities this winter.”