Co-op joins forces with food banks to help 400,000 children out of holiday hunger this summer
Central England Co-op is joining forces with food bank partners to tackle the issue of holiday hunger for children this summer.
The Summer Food Bank Appeal will run for three months from June to August and customers are being asked to drop off one or more items – ranging from food to toiletries – to help youngsters in need across the area.
After successful campaigns at Christmas and Easter collected over 85,000 items for food banks, Central England Co-op asked charities what was the biggest issued they faced during the summer months.
Over 85% of food banks working with the Co-op said the same thing – a rise in demand from families who see the safety net of free school meals removed during the summer holidays.
This often leaves people trying to stretch their budgets in order to eat and in some cases going without proper food during the holidays.
Across the retailer’s trading estate of 16 counties, figures from End Child Poverty revealed that over 400,000 children are at risk of falling into holiday hunger during 2018.
As a result Central England Co-op is launching its summer campaign to collect extra donations to try and tackle the rising problem.
The items will then be used to create either bigger food parcels for families with children or to provide special packed lunches for projects that tackle holiday hunger during the summertime.
Martyn Cheatle, Central England Co-operative Chief Executive, said: “We are proud to be able to support our food banks all year round and in the past few months have helped collect over 85,000 items to help people in need.
“We wanted to ensure that this great support continued and, after speaking to our food bank partners, knew that helping to tackle holiday hunger was the right thing to do.
“This summer we are appealing to our customers and members to support our campaign and help youngsters in need and their families so they don’t have to go without during the holidays.
“All we are asking is that people drop off one or more items into our food banks this summer 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
Anna Feuchtwang, Chairman of the End Child Poverty coalition, said: “Holiday hunger, when children lose the lunch provided by school, is an urgent problem and a direct consequence of rising levels of child poverty across the UK.
“Food banks are now critical sources of support and without urgent action increasing numbers of families will be reliant on the generosity of the public to feed their children.”
Central England Co-operative has permanent food bank collection points in hundreds of its stores all year, which have resulted in thousands of people every month from Birmingham to Norfolk being given enough food to cook meals.
The Society works with over 50 different food banks to provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis throughout the year.
Paul Brookhouse, from The Hope Centre, in Derby, said: “School Holidays is becoming a major time when families and individuals face an increase in issues around food hunger here in Derby but also nationally.
“If you are entitled to free school meals for your children, the pressure during school holidays is immense and many parents will go without food to ensure their children have food to eat.
“The summer holiday is the biggest holiday time and so this period can be a very stressful one for many. Not only can they not afford activities but the very basic need for food is a difficult one.
“We are delighted to be working with Central England Co-op and supporting the Summer Food Bank Appeal to combat holiday hunger.
“As many people are thinking of their holidays and enjoying the summer - We would ask people, if they can, to donate some items during the campaign. This will make a huge difference to help our food bank ensure that children and their families don’t go hungry this summer.”
A film has been produced to showcase the importance of supporting food banks this summer. It can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4OYW4yzQnk
A full list of the stores taking part in the appeal can be found by visiting www.centralengland.coop/summer
Notes to editors
Picture caption: Central England Co-operative colleague Yvonne Adams is urging customers and members to get behind the Summer Food Bank Appeal.
Picture caption: Young shopper Noah Bailey is backing the Central England Co-op Summer Food Bank Appeal.
Key items needed by food banks during Easter:
- Tinned food
- Dried pasta
- UHT milk
- Instant coffee
Embed code: Please use the code below to embed our video within your website or to share via social media:
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About Central England Co-operative
Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK.
It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, and property investment.
Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2018.
Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility. It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence. The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.
Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.
For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative
Rob Smyth / Heather Clapton at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140