As families all over the country celebrate Christmas, Basildon and Southend food banks need your support to help those less fortunate.

Basildon Foodbank, based at Pitsea Leisure Centre, and Southend Foodbank, based at 484 Southchurch Road, Southend, are among more than 2,500 food banks providing vital food parcels to families in the UK.

In the three weeks leading up to Christmas, the Trussell Trust says Basildon's food bank provided more than 1,000 Christmas food parcels for "individuals and families in crisis".

However, a spokesman warned: "The amount of help needed is outstripping the donations we're receiving. Please donate an item or two from our shopping list."

View the essential shopping list items needed by south Essex food banks here:

  • Tinned meat
  • Long-life milk
  • Tinned fish
  • Soups
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Pasta sauce
  • Tinned fruits
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Toiletries

Both food banks are closed over Christmas. However, Southend Foodbank will reopen on Wednesday, December 27, at Eastwood Baptist Church, Rayleigh Road, from 9.30am to 11am.

To find out more, and to donate cash, visit the Basildon Foodbank website or the Southend Foodbank website.