CLACTON'S  food bank has launched its annual appeal to support families in need during the Christmas period. 

The yearly Christmas hamper appeal is helping to distribute a hamper to struggling families within the community during the festive season. 

With three weeks to go, the charity is asking anyone who can to donate a 'Food Hamper' at a donation point in the area. 

The donation hub is located at the Salvation Army Community Centre in Old Road, Clacton, opposite the Aldi store. 

The hampers donated on December 5 between 11.30am and 4pm will then be distributed. 

A food hamper includes a suitable size bag filled with a chocolate Christmas log or cake, children’s Christmas chocolate, adult chocolates without alcohol, sweet biscuits, crisps, hot chocolate, tinned ham and tuna, chutney and jam. 

The food bank is also asking to ensure that all items fit into one bag, with no perishable foods, as well as a due date of December 25 or later. 

Homemade items will not be accepted, too, according to the social media appeal to the public. 

According to the Trussel Trust, the charity has distributed 1.5 million emergency food parcels between April and September 2023 in the UK. 

This is the highest number of parcels the network has ever distributed and a 16 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2022. 

The charity believes that the situation is unlikely to change in the coming months and forecasts are suggesting a distribution of more than one million emergency food parcels.