Central England Co-op shoppers showed ‘goodwill to all’ this Christmas by enjoying the retailer’s Irresistible product range and helping create 500,000 additional meals to feed people at risk of going hungry.
Throughout November and December, any purchase made in the retailer’s 263 food stores of products from its Irresistible range saw it donate money to FareShare Midlands to help families struggling in these uncertain times.
The Society is continuing to work with long-term partner FareShare Midlands to provide vital food during the winter months that will help ensure people at risk continue to eat well and stay healthy, particularly the 1.2 million children living in poverty in its trading area.
Before this latest campaign, Central England Co-op had already donated over £87,000 to FareShare Midlands in 2021 thanks to its customers and members backing its campaigns to support the charity’s work with families in food poverty.
The Christmas campaign saw customers and members pick up thousands of items from mince pies and Christmas puddings to pigs in blankets and prosecco, to help their festivities go off with a bang and resulting in a huge donation to FareShare Midlands.
Hannah Gallimore, Central England Co-op Social Change Manager, said: “It is so heart-warming to see the generosity of our customers and members shine through once again by helping to create an incredible 500,000 meals for FareShare Midlands at a time when it is receiving such high levels of demand.
“Our long-standing relationship with FareShare has had a life-changing impact for people in our communities in the years we have been working together and, as the demand for support continues to grow during these uncertain times, we are proud to stand with them to help those in need.
“Christmas is the time of goodwill to all, and our shoppers have once again showed that by supporting us and FareShare Midlands over the festive season. But, most importantly, so many families in need have been handed a vital boost at a special time of year – a boost they otherwise might not have had.”
Asha at International Asian Christian Front, one of FareShare Midlands members, said: "You have changed people’s lives and put smiles on their faces, given them hope that they won’t starve with their families when people have to choose to pay the bills or buy food.
“Children eagerly wait for us to deliver food - they enjoy the treats which are put into the bags. Mothers appreciate the food some even use it as children’s lunch for school.
“Poverty, financial problems, job losses have put families on our list. It’s hard times for everyone; lockdown has lifted but the problem remains.
"Given the unsuitability Covid-19 has presented, it is vital that we keep reaching out to ensure families are getting the bare essentials through food parcels and with FareShare Midlands’ help through Central England Co-op, my organisation has been very fortunate to help those in need.”
Simone Connolly, director for FareShare Midlands, said: “We’ve seen thousands of families struggling this year, and the need for food carries on rising as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt.
“The ongoing support from Central England Co-op and its customers this year has been incredible and enabled us to reach so many more families and children who might otherwise go hungry. Having help putting food on the table is a lifeline to so many, especially at this time of year, and we’re very grateful to everyone who has generously donated to make this happen. Thank you!”
This continued focus on tackling food injustice compliments years of work by the retailer and its partners to try and alleviate the issue in its communities.
It has long campaigned for more to be done to ensure that no child ever goes hungry and works with over 65 food banks as well as FareShare Midlands to help create hundreds of thousands of meals for those at risk falling hungry throughout the year.