Tesco answers food banks’ aid plea with £1m funding boost

Tesco has announced a new £1m support package for food banks and food charities after the Trussell Trust warned they are facing their most difficult winter ever.

With food banks and other frontline charities hit by a double whammy of unprecedented demand and soaring operating costs, Tesco has stepped in with a £1m donation split between the Trussell Trust and FareShare to help them meet the exceptional challenges they are facing.

The extra money comes in addition to the ongoing support the supermarket provides to both charities, having worked in partnership with them for the past decade. Tesco is the biggest supplier of food distributed by FareShare, having donated 20 million meals of surplus food to the charity in the past year alone, whilst Tesco and its customers are the biggest single source of food donations for the Trussell Trust’s food banks.

The Trussell Trust launched its emergency appeal today after seeing a 46% increase in food parcels handed out during August and September. Food banks throughout its network have been feeling the pressure of rising bills – for example, the Bradford North Foodbank has been forced to reduce the use of its van to just two days a week to rein in fuel costs.

Meanwhile, FareShare’s regional centres, which supply frontline charities and community groups across the UK with food are facing rising bills to keep fridges and freezers running and to keep delivery vans on the road. One of its regions, FareShare Midlands, expects its fuel bills to be up to 70% higher this winter, even after Government support.

Tesco UK and ROI CEO, Jason Tarry said: “We work closely with both the Trussell Trust and FareShare and on a recent visit to a food bank in Lambeth, I saw first-hand the challenges of supporting more people against a background of rising costs.

That’s why I’m proud that Tesco is one of the first to respond to the Trussell Trust’s emergency appeal with a £1m donation. We hope this will help both charities – and food banks across the UK – continue the vital work they do as we go into winter. We will, of course, continue our regular donations from both Tesco and our generous customers, which has seen us donate 100 million meals in the last decade.”

Emma Revie, Chief Executive at the Trussell Trust said: “This tsunami of need has led to the Trussell Trust launching our first ever emergency appeal and we are extremely grateful to Tesco for pledging help for our food banks at the time when they need it most. This much-needed donation is in addition to the generous support that Tesco have provided throughout their 10-year partnership.”

FareShare Chief Executive Lindsay Boswell CBE added: “The vast increase in the cost of living is having a disproportionate impact on people already struggling to make ends meet. As a result, the 9,500 charities and community groups FareShare support in the UK say demand for our food is higher than ever. We are incredibly grateful to Tesco for their generous donation that will help us to continue providing food to the people most in need that will rely on their local charities this winter.”

The Tesco donation will be split between the charities and will not be ring-fenced, so the charities are free to use the money where it is most needed. The additional £1m brings Tesco’s support for charities and community projects to more than £10m this year.

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