Thousands of meals have been provided to people in need this Christmas thanks to customer donations at Tesco stores in St Neots. Generous customers donated to food charities FareShare and The Trussell Trust during the Tesco Food Collection, which ran in stores from November 29 to December 1. Shoppers were asked to donate long-life items to help people in need as part of their usual shop. We are delighted that they were more generous than ever with an increase on the previous years collection, said a Tesco spokesman. With this years UK-wide total of 3.5 million meals donated to the charities, the overall total given by shoppers since the Tesco Food Collection scheme began in 2012 is more than 52 million meals. The two charities, FareShare and The Trussell Trust, see an increase in the need for donations at this time of year. The food donated to foodbanks in The Trussell Trusts network is given in emergency food parcels to people referred because they cannot afford to feed themselves and their families. Food donated to FareShare is distributed to charities and community groups who use it to provide meals for vulnerable groups such as isolated older people and those in homeless shelters. To help the charities in their work, Tesco is once again topping up the value of the customer donations by 20 per cent, providing the two charities with funding to run the foodbanks and distribute the food to those in need. Lindsay Boswell, from FareShare thanked Tesco customers for their generosity. The food donated at the Tesco Food Collection will make a tremendous difference to the thousands of charities and community groups that FareShare supports, he said. These groups are doing amazing work with some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Thanks to the generosity of Tesco shoppers over the festive season, we have enough long-life food to provide meals to those helping people in need across the UK. Wed like to thank everyone who donated, as well as all the volunteers who made the store collections such a success. Emma Revie, chief executive at The Trussell Trust added: Our foodbank network has spent the last month making sure that people referred to them with no money for food dont go hungry this Christmas. This work has been made possible thanks to the incredible generosity of Tesco customers, store colleagues and volunteers during the Food Collection. Thank you for your support - your generosity has stopped hunger this Christmas. Tescos UK CEO Jason Tarry, said: Year upon year we are taken aback by the generosity of customers who give to the Tesco Food Collection in our stores the length and breadth of the UK. We know that this annual collection makes a real difference to the charities we work with, and I would like to thank everyone who has donated, volunteered or helped in store. For our part, we are topping up the value of all the donations by 20% and I am proud that together with our customers and charity partners we are able to feed so many people in need this Christmas.