Aldi is giving away unsold fresh food to charity on Christmas Eve to help those in need

ALDI has promised to give away all its unsold fresh food to charities on Christmas Eve to help those in need.

The discounter is urging food bank organisers to pop into stores shortly before doors close on December 24 to collect the boxes of food.

Aldi is expecting 20 to 30 crates of food to be given away from each store across the country, although the exact amount will vary.

It comes after food bank charity The Trussell Trust issued an urgent call for donations as it warned it's expecting its busiest Christmas period ever.

The majority of Aldi stores will shut at 4pm on Christmas Eve, so charities will need to head down shortly before shops close.

We've got a full run-down on Aldi's Christmas hours so you can see when stores will be open over the festive period.

How do food banks work and how can I donate?

FOOD banks are expected to be extremely busy around Christmas time – here's how you can help.

Families and individuals are referred to a food bank if they are identified as being in need of extra support.

This is usually done through a variety of different professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and Citizens Advice.

Once referred, the person gets a voucher which can redeemed for an emergency parcel with a minimum of three-days worth of food.

How do I find a food bank near me?

The Trussell Trust is the organisation behind the UK's only national network of food banks.

To find the nearest Trussell Trust food bank near you, use its online search tool.

You'll need to pop in your city or postcode and the website will bring up your nearest food bank.

What can I donate?

A typical food parcel contains products that are high in nutrition and long-lasting, so tinned fruits and vegetables, cereals, soups and pastas are good choices.

Here's a list of the most needed items at food banks – and the cities most in need.

Essential non-food items such as toiletries and hygiene products are also needed.

If you're running a food bank, you'll need to visit one of Aldi's 600 stores in person as the supermarket says it's unable to arrange deliveries.

You can find your nearest Aldi by using the online store finder.

The supermarket said: "Aldi is offering local organisations the opportunity to receive surplus food from their stores on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.

"As Aldi stores will shut at 4pm on Christmas Eve until December 27, they will have a variety of good quality surplus food products that they will wish to redistribute."

In terms of other supermarkets, Tesco runs a Community Food Connection scheme in partnership with food redistribution charity FareShare.

This runs all-year round and the grocer says it donates surplus food on a daily basis.

Morrisons says it also donates unsold food every day and this year staff made their own Christmas video showing shoppers how they can give away unwanted goods.

Asda has a year-round food redistribution programme which, like Tesco, is run through FareShare.

Sainsbury's says it has built over 2,250 Food Donation Partnerships with local charities, ranging from food banks to soup kitchens.

While Waitrose has given away 1.5 million meals to those in need and expected to donate 10,000 more this month.

The Co-Op has a Food Share scheme which sees the supermarket chain give away food to those in need.

And Lidl has pledged to donate 250,000 meals to those in need this Christmas.

Aldi has confirmed all stores will stay closed on Boxing Day to give workers a rest over Christmas.

Here's our 10 tips to finding bargains and saving money in Aldi including best shopping times and when to browse the middle aisle.

Plus Aldi has just released details of its toy range and it includes Hatchimals and LOL Surprise.

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