Millions of meals were donated to food banks and groups feeding people in communities across the UK during late December thanks to the generosity of Tesco shoppers, figures released reveal.
A total of 2.5 million meals were donated to charities the Trussell Trust and FareShare by shoppers during last month’s Tesco Food Collection, with Tesco topping up the value of all the donations by an additional 20%.
The food is now helping feed people in communities across the country. The donations to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network are being used to provide food parcels for people in crisis, while donations to FareShare go to charities and community groups such as homeless shelters and older people’s lunch clubs who also receive surplus food from Tesco stores.
“We are hugely grateful to every single person who volunteered and donated items during this year’s Tesco Food Collection – it was wonderful to see so many passionate people lending a hand to support us,” Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive at FareShare, said. “All items donated by Tesco customers will be redistributed by FareShare to charities and community organisations and will help to ensure more people get a hot, nutritious meal.”
One of the groups benefitting from the generous donations is the Leeds North and West Foodbank. Its manager Karen Burgon said the donations were essential to their work:
“This year we received almost three tonnes of food through the Tesco collection which is phenomenal. These generous donations make it possible for us to get through the winter period which is often an incredibly difficult time for many people coming to the food bank.
“It is humbling to see how much people are willing to give, and the difference this can make when someone is in crisis. We can only continue to provide crucial support with the community’s help – thank you so much.”
One of the groups supplied by FareShare receiving food from the Tesco Food Collection is the Hopewell Road Community Centre in Hull.
“The food we received from the Tesco Food Collection will be used to enhance the quality of support already given to our beneficiaries, especially at this time of year,” the centre’s Robbie Keane said.
The donations from the three-day collection are in addition to items donated by customers throughout the year at a network of more than 500 permanent collection points at Tesco stores. In the year to October, more than 7 million meals were donated to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network at those in-store collection points.
“On my visits to stores during the Collection I was taken aback by the generosity of our customers. I would like to thank all those who donated and we will be doing our bit by topping up all the donations by 20%,” Tesco Director Christine Heffernan said.
The Trussell Trust’s Chief Executive Emma Revie also added: “Food banks up and down the country could not do what they do without the incredible support of the public and their loyal volunteers who work tirelessly to help people when they need support the most. An emergency food parcel, listening ear and compassionate, practical advice at the food bank can make a real difference when someone is facing a crisis. Any donations help make that difference.”