CENTRAL England Co-operative has said ‘thank you’ to its customers and members in Cambridgeshire after their generosity saw over 250,000 items donated to food banks in 2018 – helping to create 100,000 meals for people in need.
Latest figures released by the retailer showed that over 50 food bank providers shared out everything from coffee and tea to tinned meat and chocolate to help people from all walks of life.
Items are dropped off in special store collection points before being picked up by food bank volunteers, turned into food parcels and distributed to help those who need support.
Over 90 % of Central England Co-op Food Stores now have food bank collection points permanently installed throughout the year, with special awareness campaigns run during Easter, summer and Christmas to boost donation numbers at times of major need.
In Cambridgeshire, Cambridge City Food bank, Peterborough Food bank and Yaxley Food bank have been among the recipients of donations during 2018.
Martyn Cheatle, Central England Co-operative chief executive, said: “I am particularly proud of the fact that our kind-hearted customers, members and colleagues have helped donate an amazing 250,000 items to food banks during 2018.
“We launched our store food bank project in 2013 and it has grown and grown since that point, with now over 90% of Food Stores taking part and over 50 strong and long-lasting relationships created with superb food bank partners.
“While we cannot thank people enough for their efforts during 2018, we know that, unfortunately, more people than ever are using food banks and this is why it is vital for customers, members and colleagues to keep donating throughout 2019 and beyond.
“All we ask is that, if people can, they drop an item or two into our collection points and help make a real difference in their community.”
Items that can be donated include shopping basket staples from tea, sugar and cereals to other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products to ensure people can maintain their dignity during times of crisis.
Central England Co-operative Society has permanent food bank collection points in hundreds of its stores all year, which have resulted in thousands of people every month from Birmingham to Norfolk being given enough food to cook meals.
The Society works with over 50 different food banks to provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis throughout the year.
Last year, over 25,000 items were donated in just weeks as part of a special Easter Food Bank Appeal and the retailer’s summer campaign focused on helping to end holiday hunger among schoolchildren. This campaign saw links created with community groups and charities and 141,000 items used to directly feed 35,000 children as risk of going hungry during the summer holidays.