Oxfordshire folk are being encouraged to donate food to charity this winter with record levels of need through the festive season and into the New Year anticipated.

The forecast, from charities FareShare and the Trussell Trust, corresponds with an increase in expected donations to these charities residents in the county.

Tesco's seasonal Food Collection has been organised with the objective to support those most vulnerable during these challenging times.

Oxford Mail: Record demand for food from charities is expected this winterRecord demand for food from charities is expected this winter (Image: Tesco)

The collection will run in Oxford Express stores until December 2, and in large stores from November 30 to December 2.

Customers who visit any Tesco store in the area during the collection period are being urged to donate long-lasting food to aid the charities.

According to the recent Tesco Christmas Report, an estimated 26 per cent of people intend to contribute to a food bank this year.

Oxford Mail: All the products forming the tree will be donated to the local FareShare hubAll the products forming the tree will be donated to the local FareShare hub (Image: Tesco)

The Tesco Group chief executive Ken Murphy said: "Over the last 10 years our generous customers have helped donate over 100 million meals to communities across the UK.

"Whether it’s in your local store through the Winter Food Collection or via your Clubcard points online, even the smallest donation can make a real difference to someone else’s Christmas."

The charities are set for likely their most demanding winter yet.

The Trussell Trust anticipates distribution of over one million emergency food parcels between December and February.

Approximately 320,000 people have accessed a food bank for the first time in the last six months.

FareShare expects to redistribute upwards of 28,000 tonnes of food during the winter, equal to around 68 million meals.

This projection is over 42 per cent higher than last year's figure.

The chief executive of FareShare George Wright said: "Over the last decade, Tesco has supplied more than 250million meals to FareShare, more than any other organisation in our history.

"If you’re able to donate just one item at your local store, you’ll be helping to provide a meal for someone facing hunger this winter."

The Trussell Trust chief executive, Emma Revie, added: "The support provided by Tesco and their customers is invaluable to the food banks in our network, especially at this time of year when we anticipate that our network will be providing an emergency food parcel every eight seconds."

In light of the increasing need for support, Tesco and its charity partners have devised an alternative to the traditional Trafalgar Square Christmas tree in Scarborough.

This unusual tree, made from items that both FareShare and the Trussell Trust need most, hopes to raise awareness and encourage contributions at Tesco stores.