RETAILER Aldi has revealed it’s intention to support those experiencing financial hardship in the run up to Christmas.

The firm, which has a store in Hexham, will make donations of surplus food available for food banks, community groups and charities.

Last Christmas, Aldi donated nearly 450,000 meals to good causes throughout the UK, and expects to increase this number for Christmas 2020.

Charities will be paired with local Aldi stores and can collect fresh and chilled food products that are near the end of their shelf life – including fruit, vegetables, fresh meat, fish and bread – ahead of stores closing on Christmas Eve.

The meals will support those in need at a time when more households are experiencing financial hardship and food insecurity as a result of the pandemic.

Aldi’s Luke Peech said: “Our Christmas food donations scheme plays a big role in supporting those in need during the festive period and is something we are very passionate about. This is our fourth year running the initiative and we look forward to working with local charities in Hexham once again.

“Last year we were able to help thousands of people across the UK, and this year we’re hoping to extend this even further in what has been a challenging year for so many.”

Aldi has a successful partnership with Neighbourly, a community engagement platform that links businesses to food banks and charities.

Steve Butterworth, of Neighbourly, said: “Sadly, charities and local causes are expecting record demand for their services this Christmas because of the pandemic and its impact on communities up and down the country. We’re sure there are lots more groups out there that could put the food to good use.

Organisations do not need to be a registered charity to apply but must have a level two hygiene certificate gained in the last two years, and be able to transport and store chilled food products after collecting them on Christmas Eve at 5pm.

Those interested in working with Aldi this Christmas should contact Neighbourly at before December 7.