HUNDREDS of families were fed over Christmas thanks to readers of The News.
Our food appeal saw more than 30 trolleys in supermarkets filled to the brim with goodies to help the poor and homeless across the area.
Now, much of the non-perishable food which is left over will help those still in need over the coming months.
Melvyn Thomas, of the Salvation Army in Southsea, said the food it collected had helped to feed 244 children and adults.
And many more families were helped by other local food banks.
Mr Thomas said: ‘Without this we would have struggled to help those in need this year.
‘Having lived in the city all my life I know what the people of Portsmouth are like.
‘They have responded to those in need in the city.
‘We’re so grateful. And people are more aware that people are struggling these days.
‘We’re getting more and more people knocking on the door asking for food parcels.
‘It’s given us a start for this year.
‘We want to thank all the people of Portsmouth for their support.
‘We’re delighted with the response.’
Much of the food donated to the appeal was made up into hampers and delivered to those in need.
It helped provide meals for vulnerable and lonely people on Christmas Day.
Butchers and greengrocers offered their support by donating fresh food to the appeal too.
Steve Dent, of the Fareham and Gosport food bank, said: ‘I did appreciate all the support from The News. It was absolutely fabulous.
‘Christmas is one of those times of the year which has the most impact on people who are struggling.
‘The support that we had was phenomenal.
‘The items that we received in trolleys were amazing.
‘That meant that when we gave out the food parcels we could add on some of the luxury items that we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to.
‘It makes a big difference. We had people in tears.
‘When people are going through a rough time and they feel that everything is stacked against them, to be able to have something like that makes a big difference to their lives. It means so much to people.’
Jennie Romicheva, of the Fareham Volunteer Centre, helped organise a meal for isolated people in Fareham on Christmas Day.
She added: ‘The lunch was a popular success and each year goes from strength to strength.
‘It shows that just a small idea and enthusiastic supporters can make an incredible difference to the lives of others and we are grateful to have been part of it.’