Generous Tesco shoppers across the UK have been thanked after donating more than 1.3 million meals to feed people in their communities amid this year’s Covid-19 pandemic, with customers in Belfast donating 22,666 meals.
During the annual Tesco Food Collection at the end of November shoppers donated enough packets, tins and boxes to provide 800,000 meals to help the Trussell Trust and FareShare in their vital work.
An additional Tesco Food Collection held in the summer means that shoppers have donated more than 1.3million meals through Tesco Food Collections this year. Tesco tops up all customer donations to the collection by 20%.
Holding the Tesco Food Collections, which ran for three days in large stores, is just one of a number of ways in which Tesco supports the two food charities. The supermarket has provided more than £60m in support to help the charities feed communities during the pandemic.
During the initial lockdown Tesco donated £15m of food, split between the two charities. The supermarket has announced a further £4m of food for FareShare in recent months and donates two million meals a month of surplus food via the charity.
This year’s collection was held on November 19-21 amid the lockdown in England, and with both charities facing an exceptional need for supplies. Food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network are expected to provide a food parcel every nine seconds this winter, while FareShare is supplying more than double the food that it did before the pandemic to 11,000 frontline charities and community groups feeding people across the UK.
Declan McKillop, Development Manager at FareShare Northern Ireland, said: “This year has been so difficult for so many people and FareShare has seen demand for our food skyrocket. We continue to provide over two million meals per week to vulnerable communities across the UK, and 90% of the organisations we work with expect demand to remain the same as at peak crisis levels, or even increase through the winter.
“We are immensely grateful to every single person that donated food during this year’s Tesco Food Collection.”
Trussell Trust CEO Emma Revie said: “Throughout 2020, communities across the UK have stepped in to provide vital support to people left without enough money for the basics. And we have been truly humbled to see how much people are willing to give to food banks in our network as they face their busiest winter ever.
“It’s not right that any of us are forced to a charity for food but thanks to the incredible compassion and generosity of Tesco customers during the Tesco Food Collection, food banks in our network are able to continue to provide the lifeline of emergency support for local people in crisis this winter, while we work in the long term to build a hunger free future.”
Tesco’s Head of Community Claire De Silva thanked all those who had supported the annual collection in what had been a particularly challenging year.
“With most of the UK in lockdown holding the collection was always going to be a challenge, but once again we have been amazed by the generosity of our customers, and the fact that we have now collected more than a million meals is amazing. We know that every single can, jar or packet donated is helping someone who needs support this winter. We are immensely proud of the vital support our customers and colleagues have been able to give to the two charities in these very challenging times”
Shoppers who were unable to donate in store during the Tesco Food Collection can still show their support for the two charities by donating Tesco Clubcard vouchers or money – find more details here – https://www.tesco.com/zones/supporting-charities-and-communities