Last May, Southern donated £1,000 worth of food to match fund a donation from Isle of Wight Council following an emergency appeal. This followed a £12,500 donation from Southern’s Community Support Card scheme at its Cowes store, which enabled the foodbank to buy a new van to collect and distribute food donations.
This latest move builds on this support. “We wanted to provide a more viable long-term solution,” said Gavin Hallam, area manager for the Southern Co-operative. “Our customers are always so supportive of our community work and fundraising, and we appreciate their generosity with donations of packet, dried or tinned foods to help those in real need. Having more collection points also helps to publicise the scheme for those who need its help.”
Hannah King, project manager at the Isle of Wight Foodbank, said demands on the foodbank were increasing. It helped 6,241 people in 2013/14 compared with 4,018 for the same period in 2012/13. She said: “Having organisations such as the Southern Co-operative on board and supporting our work in this way is fundamental to the success of our being able to keep up with the demand we face serving our clients in need.
“Not only does their help assist in increasing donations, but it also flags up the remit of the foodbank and the plight of those we serve.”
Mike Partridge of the Trussell Trust added that, since April 2013, the trust’s network of 275 foodbanks had provided emergency supplies to over 550,000 people in need.
“It’s partnerships like this that will ensure local communities are equipped to help their hungry neighbours,” he said. “One in five mums are skipping meals to feed their children in the UK today and rising living costs mean that more families are struggling than ever. Over the last six months we’ve seen demand for foodbanks triple.”
The foodbank is asking for dried, tinned or packet food. In addition to collection points on the Isle of Wight and in six of its Portsmouth stores, Southern Co-operative recently donated £1,000 to Chichester Foodbank in West Sussex and extended collection points to four of its stores in the city and gave £5,000 to Haywards Heath Foodbank through its community support card.