In just six months, Canolfan Maerdy, a charity based in Tairgwaith, has redistributed over five tonnes of fresh surplus food, the equivalent of 11,000 meals, to local people experiencing hard times.

Around 25 different families each week benefit from the food, which is provided free of charge through Tesco’s FareShare Community Food scheme and more recently from Co-op and Lidl.

The charity’s volunteers pick up fresh and chilled food daily and this is available for the local community to collect and use to feed themselves and their families.

In addition, the Centre provides cookery classes each Wednesday morning using the donated food to help people learn how to make nutritious and delicious food. There is a small charge of £3 for each session but this does include free refreshments.

One of the beneficiaries of the food bank said: “I don’t know how I would feed my family without this.

“I am a single parent on a very low income and I am so grateful for the help this provides.

“There is always a warm welcome at Canolfan Maerdy and I am never made to feel embarrassed for the help provided.”

Food is available every week day between 10.30am and 4.30pm.

Gill Webber, Chief Executive at Canolfan Maerdy, said: “We have been overwhelmed and humbled by the huge response for food.

“There are so many people in need and people are happy to come to us because we are non-judgemental and do not ask for evidence of anyone being on welfare benefits.

“We aim to treat people with dignity and to provide support in whatever way we can. “For example, during the summer holidays, we provided free breakfasts and lunches to young people to help alleviate local food poverty.

“ Canolfan Maerdy has many free or low cost services available to help people, including welfare support, a nearly new clothes bank, a children’s nursery and a vibrant youth club.”

There are many lonely people living locally as well as those who have to survive on little money.

Therefore, the food bank will open on Christmas Eve between 10am and 4pm and Christmas Day between 10am and 11.30am.

Additionally, on these days, volunteers will be giving out frozen home-cooked Christmas dinners for people to defrost and warm up at home.

Also, free refreshments and mince pies will be available along with some Christmas music to help to spread some Christmas cheer.