By Connor Steel
TESCO SHOPPERS across both Gosport and Fareham have been thanked for their efforts in supporting local food banks and frontline charities, with the two boroughs joining alongside other supermarket stores as Hampshire provided a county contribution of nearly nineteen thousand meals to the most vulnerable adults and children from just one weekend of their ambitious ‘donating’ drive.
It comes as a campaign, entitled ‘The Tesco Food Collection’ was launched in large stores across the UK, with the Alver Village (Gosport) and Fareham Town Centre (opposite the police station) branches both participating between June 30 and July 2; a three day period that coincided with a traditional busier time due to paydays and warm weather beginning to take affect across the country.
Overall the county collected 18,959 meals including long life food; which included items such as UHT milk, grains, spices, dried pasta, and canned vegetables / fruit alongside beans. This was part of over 1.3 million collected nationwide with an additional twenty-percent top-up added by Tesco supermarket chiefs.
In addition to food and meals, generous shoppers donated over £328,000 to help the cause despite the ongoing cost of living crisis. This mostly came by rounding up their costs to the nearest pound or giving a small club card payment when finishing at the store checkouts alongside collection tins near store exits.
The long-life food and cash donations have now been split between food backs within the Trussell Trust network alongside frontline charities operated by FareShare; helping support those people facing hunger and poverty as inflation rates continue to rise beyond the average minimum hourly wage during 2022.
Following this success and the increasing need for food, Tesco has expanded its network of permanent food collection points to all store including the smaller Express branches. These will be accessible all year round and can be found near the checkouts or exits; allowing customers to continue helping local food banks and charities. Food donated will go directly to a local Trussell Trust food bank or a FareShare supported charity.
Claire de Silva, head of community at Tesco, said in a short statement published online last Friday: “We’re so grateful to our generous customers who kindly do what they can to help their local food banks and charities during our food collection. We hope our year-round donation points, now across our smaller convenience stores too, will provide more ways for people to help by giving if they can”.
FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell also thanked Tesco shoppers across Hampshire, which includes Gosport and Fareham stores, as he added: “The UK is currently facing a cost-of-living increase which is affecting more and more people. FareShare is doing all it can to support charities up and down the UK with food so that they can provide vital services to people facing food insecurity during the summer holidays.”
He added: “We are immensely grateful to Tesco customers for their generous food and financial donations during the Summer Food Collection. The support we receive from Tesco and its customers will enable FareShare to continue our support of children and families in Hampshire during the summer and beyond.”
Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust, finally added: “As the nation faces a rapid rise in the cost of living, food banks in our network are telling us that families up and down the country are having to make impossible decisions between putting food on the table or being able to take a hot shower – and too many people are being left with no option but to use a food bank because their money simply won’t stretch.”
Thanking all nationwide shoppers for their amazing support, she added: “The incredible generosity of Tesco customers during the Summer Food Collection will play a vital role in helping food banks across Hampshire provide emergency food and support to people facing hardship during this challenging period. We are grateful to everyone who was able to donate and we thank you for your continued support while we work in the long term to build a future without the need for food banks.”
Readers can read more information on FareShare and the Trussell Trust by clicking the hyperlinks, whilst also finding details on the Tesco Scheme via their website here. A store finder is also available here.
PICTURED BY TESCO: Shopper gives her donations to staff member as part of Summer Food Collection.