PM backs our fantastic campaign to help others

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The Prime Minister joins TV presenter and campaigner Dame Esther Rantzen, comedienne Ruby Wax, celebrities, doctors and politicians in backing the campaign launched last weekend.

It aims to encourage readers to carry out acts of kindness so all of us can enjoy the festive break at a time when many are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

Simple things such as inviting lonely elderly neighbours round for a cup of tea and a chat, helping with the shopping, or donating Christmas treats to food banks can all make a huge difference.

Mr Sunak, inset, said the Sunday Express campaign highlighted the importance of helping those in need.

He added: “It’s especially important as the Christmas period approaches to remember those who could be feeling vulnerable or lonely, and invite them to be part of our celebrations so that everyone has the Christmas they deserve.”

Dennis Reed, of the Silver Voices campaign group for older people, urged readers to provide practical support too. He said: “It would be really nice as part of the Caring

Christmas campaign if younger people and working-age families went round to an older neighbour and asked ‘is there anything you want us to help you with in terms of dealing with officialdom? Do you know how to use your computer or could we help with that?’

“Those sorts of practical things would lead to a more dignified life, and make a real difference to that older person.”

He added: “What about taking around a little present, something cheap as it’s the thought that counts, knock on the door while maybe wearing a Christmas hat, it will make a world of difference.” But if you can’t afford to give, comedian Russell Kane has urged people to spread laughter because it “costs nothing” and makes a huge impact.

Backing the campaign, Russell said: “The number one thing you can do for free is make people smile.

“Laughter is one of the most basic ways we can lift ourselves up.”

“So if we can make someone smile that costs nothing.” The Trussell Trust supports more than 1,200 food banks nationwide. It said that donating Christmas treats such as After Eight mints or boxes of biscuits along with regular staples are also guaranteed to bring festive cheer.

Unwanted Christmas gifts such as sets of toiletries also make a huge difference to someone in need. Demand for food banks has surged while donations to them have fallen, and this is expected to get worse over winter.

Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie said that readers can make a huge difference to their community by donating food.

She said: “You can drop off donations at your local food bank, or find a food collection point in many supermarkets, including Tesco.

“The best items are in-date tins such as meat and vegetables, pasta sauces, UHT milk and soups. You can also donate unopened toiletries.”

She added: “While some food banks can accept fresh food, many don’t have the facilities to store it and so won’t be able to accept it.”

“If you want to donate a festive treat, biscuits are especially welcome as well as After Eights.”

“With one in five people visiting a food bank coming from a working household, hunger is something that can touch all of us.

“It is also a year-round issue, so if you’re not in the position to donate now, we would encourage you to consider doing so in the new year.”

Sabine Goodwin, of the Independent Food Aid Network, which represents more than 550 food banks, said that along with food, financial donations are very welcome so that food banks can provide vouchers and choices to people struggling.

She added: “We’d also urge people to combine donations with letters to MPs, calling for actions to reduce the need for food banks.”

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