Small token of generosity can make a big difference

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It should be the time to eat, drink and be merry.

But for some battling to put food on their table, this Christmas will be the toughest time of the year.

With unemployment and benefits cuts hitting hard, the sad reality is not everyone will be welcoming in the festive period as they struggle for a basic meal.

As many celebrate around them, Christmas has the potential to be the breaking point for those finding it hard to make ends meet.

That’s why we are calling on you to help.

Two years ago, we launched a Christmas campaign, asking our readers to buy an extra item of food when shopping to give to those in need.

Now we aim to do it again – at a time when donations are needed more than ever.

Statistics from the Portsmouth Citizens Advice Bureau shows people using the city’s food bank this year has risen 61 per cent from 2012.

For the first 10 months of 2013, just under 5,000 were helped to get food.

As CAB chief executive Lynne Davies says, it’s a staggering number, with Portsmouth one of the most in-demand food banks in the country.

Here’s how you can play a part to help.

Next time you are out shopping, all we ask is that you buy an extra item of food and then drop it into a special News trolley on your way out.

The full list of participating supermarkets – along with a recommended food list – is featured on page 5 today.

We will then gather up all our your donations and distribute them to food banks and churches across our area to help those who need it most.

It’s a small gesture but one that can go a long way to making a difference for those who could otherwise have a cold and lonely winter.

You’ll hear plenty of times over the next few weeks that this time of year is all about giving.

We hope you can spare whatever you can and evoke the true spirit of Christmas by letting those less fortunate know you care.