Central England Co-op has launched its annual Easter Food Bank appeal by urging customers to help them collect 30,000 items for people in need – in just two weeks.
The Society is placing special collection points in over 200 Food Stores this April in an effort to get people to donate everyday items to support local food banks at a time of year when supplies start to drop.
Last years campaign helped collect over 25,000 items in just 14 days. The aim this year is to collect an extra 5,000 items to help create over 10,000 meals.
The major push this year is for UHT milk, cereals and tinned meat and fish. Food banks have asked people to donate chocolate items and puddings as well as toiletries items.
Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-operative Chief Executive, said: “We had an amazing response to our Easter Food Bank Appeal last year and we know, after speaking to our food bank partners, it is vital that we run our campaign again in 2019.
“While the majority of our Food Stores have food bank collection points in place all year round, we feel that it is vital to shine a light on the times of year when services are strained and are in need of boost.
“Easter, just like summer and Christmas, is one of these times and this is why everyone involved at Central England Co-op is asking members and customers to dig deep and help support some great and vital local good causes.
“Just donating an item or two – from essential items to treats – will go towards creating a meal for someone in need and we hope that, in just two weeks, we will be able to collect 30,000 items – 5,000 more than last year. This will then support the creation of 10,000 meals and help make a real difference.”
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.
The items will then be collected up, turned into parcels with enough food to create meals for three days and distributed to help people in need across all of the 16 counties that it trades in.
Max Shanahan, from Northfield Community Partnership Food Bank, said: “We have to remember that there are people who are in very difficult situations who need our help and support, especially at times of celebration like at Easter.
“During Easter we ask for people not to donate chocolate or Easter eggs, but the vital everyday items we need such as cereal, tinned meat and fish and UHT milk.
“Just one item would make a huge difference to help us as a food bank ensure that people do not go hungry.”
During Christmas 2013, Central England Co-operative Society trialled an in-store food bank collection and such was its success that the Society now has permanent food bank collection points in hundreds of its stores.
The store food banks have resulted in thousands of people every month from Birmingham to Norfolk being given enough food to cook meals.
The Society now works with over 50 different food banks to provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis throughout the year.
Last year, Central England Co-op customers helped donated 250,000 items – helping to create 100,000 meals for people in need.
The Easter campaign will run from 8 April to 21 April. A full list of the stores taking part in the appeal can be found by visiting www.centralengland.coop