Co-op appeal helps create over 50k meals for children following donations of 175,000 items

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Central England Co-operative has revealed that kind-hearted shoppers have donated enough food to feed 50,000 children at risk of going hungry this summer.

The retailer’s Summer Food Bank Appeal collected 175,000 items during a three-month period which has then been used by food bank partners to try and combat a rise in demand from families for food who saw the safety net of free school meals removed during the summer holidays.

The food was dropped off at special food bank collection points at over 200 Food Stores across 16 counties during July, August and September and then used to create special packed lunches for projects that tackle holiday hunger during the summertime and also meal parcels for families in need.

This means that, in total, the retailer has helped create 128,000 meals for those at risk of going hungry this summer. The other 128,000 meals came as a result of a campaign which saw 10 per cent from the sale of Fairtrade bananas donated to FareShare Midlands. A total of £32,000 was donated during July and August.

Hannah Gallimore, Central England Co-op Corporate Responsibility Manager, said: “We have now been working with our food bank partners to try and combat holiday hunger for many years, yet we continue to see demand for food bank support spike as what they now offer has sadly become a permanent solution rather than an emergency response.

“We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of our members and customers to ensure children do not go hungry every single summer with their phenomenal support for our food bank appeals.

“To have collected over 175,000 items and created meals for 50,000 children is an amazing achievement and, most importantly, will have had a major impact for these youngsters this year and hopefully for many more to come.

“We are proud to work with amazing food bank partners all year round and continue to urge our customers and members, if they can, to drop off an item or two into the special collection points in our stores to make sure vital support continues for people in need all year round.”

Items donated included shopping basket staples from tea, sugar and cereals to other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products.

Holiday hunger revolves around a rise in demand from families who see the safety net of free school meals removed during the summer holidays.

This often leaves people trying to stretch their budgets in order to eat and in some cases going without proper food during the holidays.

Central England Co-operative 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 65 different food banks to provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis throughout the year.