Food bank donations from Midcounties Co-operative last year helped to feed 2,500 families living in poverty in the UK for three days.
During the year, the society donated 30% more items to food banks than in the previous year, with a record-breaking 100,000 items sent to food banks. It boosted its efforts with the help of partnerships with local food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network, as well as schools and community-based start-ups.
The co-op worked with West Midlands secondary school, Walsall Academy, to raise more than 9,500 items of food. These donations were enough to feed more than 200 families in crisis in the region in the run-up to Christmas.
It also teamed up with Bicton Heath Food store and Shrewsbury Food Hub, a charity that collects surplus food and redistributes it to local communities. Thanks to the donations from the Midcounties Co-operative, the hub was able to expand its offering to include produce such as meat, ready meals and milk and donate thousands of meals to those in need.
In the run-up to Christmas, the society worked with the hub to to ensure that families in the area were able to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner.
Midcounties is also collaborating with food waste app OLIO in Banbury. The app acts as an online foodbank, enabling individuals and businesses to upload images of leftover food, which can then be collected by users for free.
Samantha Stapley, director of operations at the Trussell Trust, said: “At the close of last year, food banks met thousands of people who would otherwise have faced going hungry at Christmas. No one should be unable to afford food, at any time of year. As we look to the year ahead, against a backdrop of record food bank referrals, we’re committed to working towards a future where there is no need for food banks.
“We’re very grateful for the support Midcounties has given to food banks in the area. It’s only with the generous support of people and businesses in local communities that we’re able to work with our network to ensure emergency food and help are available, while at the same time challenging why people are being thrown into crisis in the first place.”
Mike Pickering, CSR manager at Midcounties, said: “Organisations like food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network act as a lifeline for those that are struggling. Sadly, we know that demand for food banks keeps increasing, and therefore donations need to match this.
“Thanks to our partnerships with community organisations and local food banks and to the generosity of colleagues and shoppers, we’ve been able to donate more items than ever before. We’ll continue to work closely with our partners so we can keep supporting people in need in our communities.”