A food bank which supports vulnerable families and individuals in Margate and the surrounding area is being aided in its vital work thanks to food donations from Tesco.
St Austin and St Gregory’s Food Bank has been supporting people in Margate for the last 35 years, offering a vital food parcel service for those in need. In normal circumstances, around 50-60 people a week, would come to the food bank to collect much needed goods.
During the pandemic, the food bank has adapted to provide a delivery service offering essential items including long-life food – tinned goods, bread, pasta and vegetables. The food bank has seen a high increase in demand and is now serving around 160 parcels over a three-day period to families, those that are homeless, and recently, those that are self-employed but cannot work because of the Covid-19 crisis.
Volunteers have been taking food from Tesco’s Community Food Connection scheme, run in partnership with food charity FareShare, to those that need it, so that they can continue to have proper meals each day.
John Finnegan, Food Parcels Delivery Service Coordinator, said: “It’s been a challenging time and we’ve never experienced anything like this before. We’ve adapted the way in which we operate to continue supporting the local people that need us. All the donations from Tesco are a great help and without them we would not be able to look after the families in the way we do.”
St Austin and Gregory’s Food Bank is just one of thousands of food banks, charities and community groups across the UK being supported in their work amid the Covid-19 crisis thanks to donations from the supermarket. In addition to its usual supplies of surplus food to charities and community groups Tesco is providing a further £15m of food to support charities supplied by FareShare and foodbanks that are part of the Trussell Trust’s network.
Already 62 trucks full of Tesco food donations have been delivered to the two charities, with 121 tonnes of food being delivered to FareShare Southern Central to support 241 charities with 286,911 meals-worth of food, and enough long-life food to provide almost 1,000 meals for people in crisis being supplied to local Trussell Trust food banks each week.
Claire Martin, Development Manager at FareShare Southern Central said the additional donations from Tesco were making a huge difference to charities and community groups which receive supplies from them.
Claire said: “We are immensely thankful to Tesco for their continued support during the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the frontline charities we work with continue to provide essential support within their communities, and the additional donations from Tesco will help us to keep up a steady supply of food to them during this difficult time.”
The £15m of additional food donated by Tesco is part of a £30m package of support from the supermarket to aid charities and voluntary groups in their response to the crisis. It also includes a £1m cash donation to the Trussell Trust and FareShare to support their running costs, a £2m donation to the British Red Cross and a £2m pot from its Bags of Help community donation scheme to support local charities and community groups supporting vulnerable people with £500 grants
Tesco’s Head of Community, Claire De Silva, said: “In every part of the UK there are charities and community groups doing amazing work to feed people during the pandemic, and we are glad that we have been able to support them in helping so many vulnerable people.”