Central England Co-operative has said a heartfelt “thank you” to customers and members in Yorkshire after they donated over 40,000 items in support of its 2019 Christmas Food Bank Appeal – helping to create over 20,000 meals for people in need.
The retailer hosted a special month-long appeal in an effort to bring a little festive cheer and provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis.
Colleagues at over 240 food stores across 16 counties used already strong connections with local food bank providers to encourage people to drop off one or more items – resulting in an amazing response.
Over 10,000 items a week were donated and, in total, over 40,000 were collected in just a matter of weeks.
This allowed for the creation of special food parcels that were handed out to provide over 20,000 meals during the festive period.
These incredible numbers donated by the public are all the more humbling, coming straight on the back of Central England Co-op’s first ever Christmas Toybox Appeal which saw over 12,000 presents and stocking fillers donated to give children who might otherwise have missed out a Christmas to remember.
Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-operative Chief Executive, said: “I have been overwhelmed by the fantastic response to our Christmas campaigns from customers, members and colleagues which have helped to make a real difference to people in need in our communities at this special time of year.
“Coming hot on the heels of our first ever Christmas toy appeal it is brilliant that our food bank appeal has still received such magnificent support.
“As a co-operative, it is great to be able to support the great work of local food banks across our trading area during the festive season and throughout the year.
“We all want to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who donated, not just to the Christmas Food Bank Appeal but our year-round food bank collections.
“The generosity and support on show throughout 2019 has helped make a major difference to people from all walks of life.
“We now want to ask people to continue to support our food banks during 2020 so we can keep providing vital donations to good causes that can really make a positive impact on those in need.”
The parcels included items such as tea, sugar and cereals and other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products to ensure people can maintain their dignity during times of crisis. They also featured festive treats ranging from boxes of chocolate to advent calendars following a plea for people to spread a little ‘festive cheer’ with their donations.
The Christmas Food Bank Appeal was launched on the back of year-round relationships currently in place with local food bank providers and hundreds of Central England Co-op stores, where permanent food bank collection points are in place 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.