With Christmas fast approaching, food banks across the UK have been preparing for what many of them think will be their busiest Christmas yet.

This year in particular, a combination of economic factors has taken its toll on families and individuals who were already struggling to make ends meet: the removal of the Universal Credit (UC) uplift, the end of furlough, a significant increase in food prices, and surging gas prices to what is now an all-time high.

This ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances means that all over the UK, already-tight budgets are under unsustainable strain. As we count down to Christmas, hard-pressed households are being forced to make the agonising choice between feeding themselves and their families, and heating their homes. Many have no option but to turn to charities for support, and we wanted to help.

Throughout November and December, we have supported the efforts of six food banks in towns and cities across the UK by donating food, toiletries, and some extra Christmas treats to help those in need.

In the process of doing so, we have had the privilege of meeting some of the inspiring staff and volunteers who run these vital community hubs – people who put so much time and effort into making a real difference to people facing hard times, and especially so during this festive season.

As we wind down with a few final emails before Christmas, we’d like to wish everyone a happy, peaceful, and restful Christmas. And extra special Christmas wishes to all the staff and volunteers at the Sheffield S6 Trussell Trust Food Bank, the Fylde Food Bank, the Claremont First Step Community Centre in Blackpool, Feed the Community at the Fusion Centre in Grimsby, the Derby City Mission, and the Westway Open Arms and the Rainbow Centre in Scarborough. You are all brilliant. Big thanks to you all.