WHAT a heart-warming experience to be part of the foodbank collections organised by Southampton People's Assembly Against Austerity.

Dressed in festive gear, singing carols and playing Christmas music outside city supermarkets, the collectors attracted a fantastic response from the good people of Southampton.

As a result, a large number of crates of food were collected and sent to the foodbank centre in Millbrook for distribution to Southampton's hungry.

Watching the generosity of Southampton people was a moving experience. I was bowled over by how much was donated in a short time and I witnessed first-hand the caring heart of local people who showed great empathy and understanding of the effects of poverty.

We have been told austerity is over, but recent figures show one fifth of the population are living on incomes below the poverty line after housing costs have been taken into account. Most of these people are in work. And nearly one in three children are living in poverty.

I was not surprised that many food donors were angry at what they saw as the hypocrisy of some politicians who were posing for photo opportunities at food banks. Southampton people deserve an enormous thank-you for their amazing generosity in supporting local residents in need.

Mike Dukes