Tesco shoppers donate 5.1M meals to hungry people

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tesco shoppers have donated 5.1M meals to help people in need this year
Tesco shoppers have donated 5.1M meals to help people in need this year

Related tags: Donation, Food

Tesco shoppers have donated 5.1M meals, weighing 2,135t, to people in need this year.

The total was calculated after the latest Neighbourhood Food Collection campaign, which took place in every UK store between July 3-5. The campaign – held between in partnership with food banks charity, the Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity, FareShare – took the total number of meals donated since December 2012 to 15.3M meals.

This figure includes 30% top-up from Britain’s biggest retailer, plus donations from permanent and local collections, and surplus food provision.

The food collected was destined to benefit people living in food poverty, many of whom struggle during the summer. “Often low-income families, who normally receive free school meals, have to find ways to make their budgets stretch to afford extra meals for their children,” ​said the retailer in a statement.

‘Low-income families’

Shoppers were asked to donate non-perishable food items such as: long-life milk, cereals and tinned vegetables and fruit. The donations were collected by volunteers from the Trussell Trust, FareShare, Rotary Club, the British Red Cross and Tesco staff for distribution to outlets across the UK.

David McAuley, chief executive, Trussell Trust, said the food donations made a vital contribution. “Thanks to the incredible generosity of Tesco and their shoppers, Trussell Trust food banks across the UK will be able to stop many more families from facing hunger over the school holidays.

“Not only will food banks continue to provide a lifeline to people in poverty, but many will also be able to  run additional services like lunch clubs to help families who will struggle during the summer break.”

McAuley added: “When you meet a mum who is totally overwhelmed at receiving a food parcel because it means she won’t have to go without food again that night, it brings home how tough life is for many living on the breadline.”

‘Living on the breadline’

Lindsay Boswell, ceo of FareShare said: “Once again, we have been completely blown away by the generosity of the Great British public – generosity that will allow us to keep helping the most vulnerable people in society.

“We are incredibly grateful to Tesco and their customers as we will now be able to provide the 1,290 charities we support with more of the food they need.”

Tracey Clements, Tesco’s community and customer experience director, said: “The response from our customers, colleagues and volunteers has been incredible and I’d like to thank everyone for their help in reaching this fantastic total.”

Meanwhile, in April the Trussell Trust revealed figures claiming that the number of people using food banks had nearly trebled in the past year, fuelling criticism of the government.

Up to 913,000 people received three days’ emergency aid in 2013–14, compared with 346,000 in 2012–13.

Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey said the figures revealed “the biggest squeeze in living standards​ since the Victorian era”.

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