East of England Co-op has launched a foodbank donation card which customers can purchase as a gift for loved ones at Christmas.
The launch follows conversations with local foodbanks who said financial support was vital throughout the year to keep their food and supplies stocked at times when they tend to get fewer donations.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, East of England has donated over £82,000 to local foodbanks as part of its Community Cares Fund.
When customers purchase the gift card, the £5 they pay will be donated to the foodbank connected to the store they purchase it in. The card can then be given to loved ones to explain a donation has been made on their behalf.
The gift card, which can be bought in all 122 East of England Co-op Foodstores, is among several initiatives the retailer has been leading to tackle food injustice in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
It follows a Food Bank Summit in September and last month’s virtual Food Justice Conference which saw the society bring together local organisations striving for food justice, to understand how they could further help reduce food poverty.
Stowmarket and Area Foodbank manager,Mike Smith said: “The food donations we receive are vital to us, without them we wouldn’t be able to offer the support we do to people in our communities struggling with food poverty.
“Christmas is a time of giving so we tend to get a significantly higher level of food donations through December than any other time of year. When we came together with other local foodbanks at the last Foodbank Summit in September we all agreed that financial support is the thing that we’re most in need of over the festive period.
“The East of England Co-op’s foodbank donation card will help us to provide vital support to our communities throughout the year when we have fewer donations of food and supplies coming in.”
East of England joint CEO Niall O’Keeffe said: “Our local foodbanks provide a lifeline for those in our community struggling with food poverty and our foodbanks have shown incredible dedication and commitment in supporting families and individuals across our region throughout the pandemic.
“As a local community retailer, we are proud to support our local foodbanks and their amazing volunteers that work tirelessly to ensure that those in need in our community don’t go without.
“During the summer our generous customers, colleagues and members donated almost 5 tonnes of food via our holiday hunger campaign.
“I know that we can count upon our community to show their support for local foodbanks once again this Christmas by giving a gift of a foodbank donation card.”