Co-op customers can support those at risk of going hungry just by heading to the shops this spring

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Central England Co-op shoppers are being encouraged to celebrate spring by helping tackle food poverty in their communities as figures reveal over one million children are at risk of going hungry across the area.

From 29 March to 11 April, any purchase made in the retailer’s 260 plus food stores of products from its Irresistible range will see Central England Co-op donate five per cent from the sale of each product to FareShare Midlands to help ensure families struggling in these uncertain times this spring.

Meanwhile, the Society is also urging its customers and members to support its Spring Food Bank Appeal and make a difference this Easter by visiting their nearest Central England Co-op food store and donating an item or two into special collection points.

Donations will be collected up from Central England Co-op stores and used to create food parcels by local food banks, which contain around 11 items and will provide at least three days’ worth of meals for those in need.

Figures from End Child Poverty prior to the Covid-19 pandemic show the scale of the issue of food poverty in the UK with over one million children deemed to be in poverty across the 16 counties Central England Co-op trades*. It is feared this will only have worsened during the last 12 months.

Hannah Gallimore, Central England Co-op corporate responsibility manager, said: “Our long-standing relationship with FareShare has had a life-changing impact for people in our communities in the years we have been working together and as the demand for support continues to grow during these uncertain times, we are proud to stand with them to help those in need as we strive to create a sustainable Society for all.

“Having access to food should be a simple thing but, as these figures reveal, it is becoming increasingly difficult for so many in our communities, particularly as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hit home.

“We know our kind-hearted customers will be more than willing to support by picking up products from our fantastic Irresistible range in their local shop, and by doing so giving the charity a boost and helping those families in need this spring.”

Simone Connolly, director for FareShare Midlands, said: “The support we have received from Central England Co-op and their kind customers particularly over the last year has been incredibly heart-warming. Our relationship has helped support thousands of men, women and children living in food poverty across the Midlands.

“We can’t thank the Society enough for their continued generosity and decision to once again stand-by not just our organisation, but our members and the individuals and families that need food support more than ever before”

Central England Co-op currently works with over 60 food bank partners spread across 16 counties and with them continuing to see a rise in demand, the retailer has appealed for its customers and members to fill its instore collection points this spring.

Hannah added: “I know our customers and members will give their backing to making sure our Food Bank Appeal can make a real difference to families struggling in these uncertain times.”

Items that can be donated include shopping basket staples from tea, sugar and cereals to other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products to ensure people can maintain their dignity during times of crisis.