Haslemere food bank has launched a Christmas gift drive, seeking new unwrapped toys, puzzles, games, presents and gifts for children, teenagers and adults to give out to local people who have fallen on hard times.

The gift drive will run until December 13, and has already won the support of many local businesses, including The Original Factory Shop, Past and Present, the Sports Locker, Haslemere Book Shop, Sass & Spirit, Hemingways and Marley Flowers.

“Please do pop in or give them a call and ask to make a donation to the Haslemere food bank Christmas gift drive and they will be very happy to help,” said a food bank spokesman.

The food bank has also launched a ‘reverse Advent calendar’ initiative, suggesting people pop a different item into a box each day from December 1 to 24, to donate to the food bank in the new year.

The reverse advent calendar has been shared on the Haslemere food bank Facebook page, and in the first week of Advent calls for donations of: December 1, baked beans; December 2, rice; 3, tea bags; 4, shampoo; 5, cereal; 6, tinned fruit; 7, coffee.

The idea has taken off, with a flurry of people and community groups commenting on and sharing the food bank’s post.