POOLE Foodbank is reinforcing the importance of food donations for disadvantaged families heading into the new year.

Thanks to the support of the public, Poole Foodbank has been able to offer Christmas goodies to less fortunate families through donations from supermarkets and local businesses.

Now, food banks across Dorset are stocking up for the new year and wintery months ahead where donations are often at their lowest.

Gill Payne, manager at Poole Foodbank said: “We want to encourage people to keep up their support of us through the cold months when people need to put their heaters on and electricity bills go up, they have an increased need for food in the winter months.

“The public is very generous in the December leading up to Christmas, but then it then goes quiet in January, so we do tend to have a lull in the new year.

“That is when, historically, donations to food banks tend to drop off a bit.

“But the fear will be, if donations drop off in the new year and demand continues to rise, which I would anticipate with the colder months coming, then it could be tricky.

Gill also mentioned that necessary household items are low stocked and more donations would be appreciated, she added: “When you do your normal family shop, you think food, and then you get to the end, and then you've got to buy your cleaning items, the tablets for the washing machine, nappies, all those sorts of things that cost, and it nearly doubles your shopping bill.

“It's things like that so it's household cleaning items, clothes, washing, and then health and hygiene.

“So, deodorants, shampoos, and deodorant are a big one for us.”

Gill also wanted to express her thanks to everyone who has donated to help with feeding families and supplying them with essentials, she said: “We want to encourage people to keep on supporting us, but also give our incredible gratitude to the public who are supporting these families that are struggling.

“We're managing to meet demand now.

“We've had a lot of donations of selection boxes, the chocolate for the children and mince pies, Christmas-related goods.

Poole Foodbank also announced it is opening a second storage store at The Dolphin in the new year.