DORSET shoppers have donated almost 20,000 meals to people in need this festive season.

They gave 19,320 meals to homeless shelters, people in crisis and lunch clubs for the elderly.

The food was distributed by two charities - Trussell Trust and FareShare with donations made as part of the Tesco Food Collection scheme.

The collection ran from November 21 to 23 with a total of 2.5million meals donated nationally.

CEO of the Trussell Trust which supports a network of 1,200 food banks, Emma Revie said: “Food banks could not do what they do without the incredible support of the public and their loyal volunteers who work tirelessly to help people when they need support the most.

“An emergency food parcel, listening ear and compassionate, practical advice at the food bank can make a real difference when someone is facing a crisis. Any donations help make that difference.”

CEO of FareShare which redistributes unwanted food, Lindsay Boswell, said: “We are hugely grateful to every single person who volunteered and donated items during this year’s Tesco Food Collection - it was wonderful to see so many passionate people lending a hand to support us. All items donated by Tesco customers will be redistributed by FareShare to charities and community organisations and will help to ensure more people get a hot, nutritious meal.”