Sainsbury’s has announced that it will once again top up Government funded Healthy Start vouchers by £2 – a move that could help feed more than half a million pregnant women and children in need this festive season.
The vouchers, which are provided by the Government to low-income pregnant women and families with a child under the age of four, provide eligible families with a voucher worth £4.25 – up from £3.10 earlier this year following much needed lobbying from Marcus Rashford.
The move comes after Sainsbury’s topped the voucher up by £2 from February until August earlier this year. Now, it means families can receive £6.25 worth of healthy and nutritious food per week, and with an estimated half a million families eligible for the voucher, the retailer hopes the additional £2 coupon will help those who need it most this Christmas.
Available from Thursday 9th December 2021 through to Friday 7th January 2022, customers who use a Healthy Start paper voucher at checkout will automatically receive a £2 coupon that can be spent during their next shop until 21st January.
Government Healthy Start vouchers can be spent on cows’ milk, infant formula milk, fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables as well fresh, dried and tinned pulses with no added fat, sugar and salt, while the £2 Sainsbury’s coupon can be used to supplement this with additional fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables.
The initiative is the latest step Sainsbury’s is taking in a bid to tackle food poverty. The retailer recently launched its annual Help Brighten a Million Christmases campaign, which encourages customers to donate what they can to those who need it most. Sainsbury’s then matches every single donation up to the value of £1.5 million. With the aim of raising a total of over £3 million, Help Brighten a Million Christmases builds on Sainsbury’s year-round work with its charitable partners to provide vital support to those who need it most. Sainsbury’s is committed to ensuring that more Brits can celebrate this year without hunger, making sure it’s a Christmas to savour for everyone.
During the season of giving, every £1 customer donation provides the equivalent of two hot meals, so once matched by Sainsbury’s, each £1 donated could help feed four people in need. Once matched by Sainsbury’s, the generosity of customers could have a huge impact with the potential to help feed up to 12 million families this Christmas.
Ruth Cranston, Group Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Sainsbury’s said: “Earlier this year we helped families across the UK by topping up their Healthy Start vouchers with a £2 coupon, and today we have announced that it’s an initiative we are bringing back this winter to help those in need over the festive period, a time that we know is difficult for many families.
“Each and every child has the right to healthy and nutritious food, and as part of our new brand mission ‘Helping Everyone Eat Better’, we hope this goes some way towards helping families provide that.”
Sainsbury’s is a proud partner of Marcus Rashford’s Child Food Poverty Task Force, a coalition of charities and food businesses working together to end child food poverty.
Commenting on today’s news, Marcus Rashford, MBE said: “The fight to end child food poverty is far from over and I’m proud to see Sainsbury’s as one of the founding members of the Taskforce financially commit to supporting users of the Healthy Start Scheme this winter. This Christmas could be one of the toughest on record and these steps will inevitably alleviate some of the pressure on the shoulders of families up and down the country. A big thank you to all involved.”
Sainsbury’s supports local communities year-round. In September, the retailer launched the first phase of its Helping Everyone Eat Better Community Grant Scheme which created a £1 million fund to support some of the most vulnerable people and communities in the UK.
Meanwhile in February, Sainsbury’s made it even easier for customers to donate to FareShare by providing them with a way to donate directly when shopping online all year round. Since the initial trial, the service has seen over £1 million donated, providing the equivalent of 2 million meals.