From today, shoppers across Manchester are being urged to donate to the UK’s biggest food collection and support the Trussell Trust and FareShare as they help people in crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic this Christmas.
The Tesco Food Collection takes place every year, but this year’s collection is more vital than ever.
It comes as Trussell Trust food banks and community groups across the UK who get food from FareShare face an unprecedented need for supplies.
Poplar Street Primary in Manchester has seen demand for its service soar since the coronavirus outbreak.
Usually, the school uses FareShare food as part of its breakfast club – but when the crisis forced the UK into lockdown, headteacher Iain Linsdell knew he had to find a way to keep getting good food onto the plates of their most vulnerable pupils.
With many families in low paid jobs or in precarious work, Iain recognised that the lockdown would mean many families would be at risk of going hungry.
“During the coronavirus crisis, all schools closed across the UK, but our partnership with FareShare enabled us to become a different kind of community hub so instead of families and kids coming to us, we’re going out to them,” Iain explained.
“We were able to deliver high quality food straight to families’ doors.
“I had staff members meeting children, having that human connection and also doing a brilliant community service – and that’s what it’s all about.
“We’re able to reach our community and provide families with a weekly food delivery, which stops them from having to go out to the shops and spend money they really can’t afford.
“It’s keeping our community connected in a way that’s familiar and reassuring both to staff and children.
“It’s bringing a little bit of normality to everyone’s lives in these exceptional times.
“Working with FareShare is just a brilliant win-win.”
Last year, shoppers donated more than three million meals-worth of food during the collection.
And this year, Tesco will once again be topping up the value of donations with an additional 20% in cash.
“Every year Tesco customers across Manchester are incredibly generous,” said Tesco’s Claire De Silva.
“But this year is not a normal year, and the two charities we work with need to provide more food than ever this Christmas.
“A single tin of tuna or vegetables may not seem like much to give, but if enough people make a small donation then together those donations can make a really big difference to people who need our help this winter.
“Tesco will top up the value of every tin, packet or carton given with an extra 20% in cash, helping food banks across the UK to keep the lights on this Christmas and FareShare vans to deliver food to people who really need it.”
The Trussell Trust’s network of food banks is expected to give out six emergency food parcels to people in crisis every minute this winter.
“The pandemic has shown the power of what happens when we stand together in the face of adversity and how much people are willing to give in order to support their local community,” said chief executive Emma Revie.
“To have the ongoing support of Tesco and their customers is crucial.
“Items donated during this year’s Food Collection will allow food banks in our network to provide the best possible help to people in the run up to Christmas.
“Every donation will make such a difference in communities across the UK so please do consider donating in store.”
Food donated to FareShare goes to help some of the 11,000 charities and community groups who use it to provide meals for vulnerable groups such as isolated older people and those in homeless shelters.
“The Tesco Food Collection is absolutely vital this year,” said FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell.
“The effects of the pandemic are being felt far and wide, with more people than ever turning to their local charities and community groups for help because they’re unable to feed themselves and their families.
“Demand for food from FareShare has more than doubled over the last few months, so if you are able to donate just one item it will go such a long way in helping us support the thousands of people in need across the UK.”
The collection launches in Tesco Express stores across the region today (16th November) and in large stores from Thursday 19th November. Customers have until the evening of Saturday 21st November to donate long-life food in store. Customers unable to donate food in store can still help both charities by donating Tesco Clubcard points or donating via the Tesco website. Find out more here.