Volunteers needed in Belfast for Christmas food collection

Two charities providing vital food to people hit by the Covid-19 pandemic are appealing for people in Belfast to help support the UK’s biggest food collection this Christmas.

From Thursday, November 19 until Saturday, November 21 charities FareShare and the Trussell Trust will be collecting food in Tesco stores across the UK and Northern Ireland during the annual pre-Christmas Tesco Food Collection.

The need for food to help the food banks and community groups which the two charities support is more vital than ever this year given the pressures caused by Covid-19. FareShare are looking for people to volunteer at donation points in store whilst the Trussell Trust is looking for social media volunteers to share shopping lists on social media to encourage people to donate.

During the collection customers are encouraged to donate long-life food to help food banks and community groups support people this Christmas. Tesco will top up customer donations by 20% in cash to aid the two charities in their work.

Last year, 3million meals were collected as part of the Tesco Food Collection, and since its launch in 2012, more than 76 million meals have been donated to the two charities by generous Tesco customers.

The volunteers are needed to encourage shoppers to leave their donations in the collection point at the front of stores, with shoppers more likely to donate if volunteers are present.

Foodbanks in the Trussell Trust’s network are expecting to give out six emergency food parcels every minute this winter.

Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust said: “A crisis can often bring out the best in people, and we have been overwhelmed by the support the UK has shown towards food banks in light of the coronavirus outbreak. As we look to the one of the busiest times of the year for food banks in our network, we would be so grateful if people can share shopping lists of their local food bank’s most-needed items on their social media to encourage friends and family to donate. Together we can make a difference and ensure that food banks are able to help people in crisis this winter.”

Meanwhile FareShare has tripled the amount of food it has been providing since the start of the pandemic and will be supplying food to 11,000 front-line charities and community groups supporting people this winter.

FareShare’s development manager in Northern Ireland, Declan McKillop, said: “We know that many people have already fallen victim to the economic impact of the pandemic and thousands more are at risk of losing their jobs and livelihoods. We have seen a huge increase in people turning to their local grassroots community groups for support and demand for food is more than double pre-pandemic levels.

“We would be hugely grateful to anyone who is able to volunteer this year to encourage more shoppers to donate much needed ambient food to those who need it most.”

Volunteers will need to adhere to the Covid-19 rules in place in the store and locally when they participate. People interested in volunteering can find out more and sign up at  https://fareshare.org.uk/foodcollection

Love Belfast
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