Central England Co-operative can today reveal that kind-hearted shoppers have donated enough food to feed 50,000 children at risk of going hungry this summer.
The retailer’s Summer Food Bank Appeal collected 175,000 items during a three-month period which has then been used by food bank partners to try and combat a rise in demand from families for food who saw the safety net of free school meals removed during the summer holidays.
The food was dropped off at special food bank collection points at over 200 Food Stores across 16 counties during July, August and September and then used to create special packed lunches for projects that tackle holiday hunger during the summertime and also meal parcels for families in need.
This means that, in total, the retailer has helped create 128,000 meals for those at risk of going hungry this summer. The other 128,000 meals came as a result of a campaign which saw 10 per cent from the sale of Fairtrade bananas donated to FareShare Midlands. A total of £32,000 was donated during July and August.
Hannah Gallimore, Central England Co-op Corporate Responsibility Manager, said: “We have now been working with our food bank partners to try and combat holiday hunger for many years, yet we continue to see demand for food bank support spike as what they now offer has sadly become a permanent solution rather than an emergency response.
“We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of our members and customers to ensure children do not go hungry every single summer with their phenomenal support for our food bank appeals.
“To have collected over 175,000 items and created meals for 50,000 children is an amazing achievement and, most importantly, will have had a major impact for these youngsters this year and hopefully for many more to come.
“We are proud to work with amazing food bank partners all year round and continue to urge our customers and members, if they can, to drop off an item or two into the special collection points in our stores to make sure vital support continues for people in need all year round.”
Items donated included shopping basket staples from tea, sugar and cereals to other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products.
Holiday hunger revolves around a rise in demand from families who see the safety net of free school meals removed during the summer holidays.
This often leaves people trying to stretch their budgets in order to eat and in some cases going without proper food during the holidays.
Central England Co-operative has permanent food bank collection points in hundreds of its stores all year, which have resulted in thousands of people every month from Birmingham to Norfolk being given enough food to cook meals.
The Society works with over 65 different food banks to provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis throughout the year.
Below are details of some of the food banks that have been supported by the Summer Food Bank Appeal, with some providing quotes on the impact the appeal has had.
· In Burton and South Derbyshire, Harvey Girls, in Burton, and South Derbyshire CVS are among the food banks that benefit from donations.
· In Bedfordshire, The Need Project is among the food banks benefit from donations.
· In Cambridgeshire, Cambridge City Food Bank, Peterborough Food Bank, Yaxley Food Bank and Ely Food Bank are among the food banks that benefit from donations.
· In Nottinghamshire, Arnold Food Bank and Bassetlaw Food Bank are among the food banks that benefit from donations.
· In Derbyshire, the Hope Centre, in Derby, Ashbourne Food Bank and Salcare Food Bank in Amber Valley and Erewash are among the food banks that benefit from donations.
- Paul Bohan, from High Peak Food Bank, in Buxton, said: “Foodbank need has been higher in 2021 than in any previous summer. Donations by Central England Co-op customers has allowed Zink (High Peak Foodbank) to meet the needs of families and individuals who are in a period of crisis. This has enabled Zink to concentrate resources on supporting families to overcome the problems that caused them to need emergency food in the first place through our employability and advice services.”
· In Leicestershire, Action Homeless, in Leicester and Hinckley Food Bank are among the food banks that benefit from donations.
- Glenis Wilcox, from Shepshed Food Bank, said: “We were very grateful for the collections throughout the summer appeal. We received extra things like jams and spreads, crisps and goodies. This all went towards our family parcels helping to provide lunches throughout the summer.”
· In Northamptonshire, Kettering Food Bank, is among the food banks that benefit from donations.
o A spokesman said: “Thank you to all those who donated to the Summer Food Bank Appeal. Kettering Food Bank has seen a dramatic increase in demand, especially families who are struggling at this time of year. With these donations and generosity we have helped so many families and individuals.”
· Norwich Food Bank and Cromer Food Bank are among the recipients of donations in Norfolk and Suffolk.
· In Stoke and Stafford, House of Bread and Trussell Trust Rugeley Food Bank are among those to benefit from food donations.
· Ediblelinks is the main beneficiary of donations from stores in the Warwickshire area.
· In the West Midlands, B30 Food Bank, Lichfield Food Bank, Tamworth Food Bank and Bethany Food Bank are among the organisations to benefit from donations.
o Kevin Warrington from Bethany Food Bank said: “Thanks to the generous donations from Central England Co-op members we have been able to meet the demands of feeding over 1,000 people per month. Due to what is happening in our nation, food banks are becoming increasingly busy and we rely on the customers to help us supply the need.”
· In Yorkshire, The Welcome Centre, based in Huddersfield, is among the organisations that benefit from the donations.