Shoppers in Derry demonstrated their generosity earlier this month, by donating 5,469 meals to foodbank charity The Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity FareShare for Tesco’s Neighbourhood Food Collection.
The Neighbourhood Food Collection runs in all Tesco stores across the country, to collect vital store cupboard essential foods, such as rice, tea, tinned meat and UHT milk, for people in need over the festive period.
Shoppers were invited to donate food in their local Tesco store in Derry between 1 and 3 December to benefit local charities and people referred to foodbanks.
The food collected in Derry helped contribute towards the estimated total of three million meals collected for the charities by all Tesco stores nationwide this month.
Tony McElroy, Head of Communications in Northern Ireland, at Tesco said the firm was delighted at the response in Derry, where there has been a significant increase in the number of parcels donated compared to the rest of the year.
He said: “We’re thrilled with the huge number of food donations we’ve had in Derry, resulting in such an amazing number of meals to give to those in need this Christmas and beyond.
“It really demonstrates the generosity of the people of Derry. Thank you for once again supporting us, and making this collection so successful!”
The donations come at a vital time when The Trussell Trust and FareShare see an increase for their support.
David McAuley, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust said the public always responds in the run-up to Christmas and that the generosity of Derry shoppes would help feed less fortunate people in the city in the coming weeks.
Mr McAuley said: “Every year Trussell Trust foodbanks see a significant seasonal spike in the volume of people needing emergency food during the lead up to Christmas; last December we saw a 45% increase in the number of parcels provided compared to the average for the rest of the year.
“The staggering generosity of Tesco customers, store colleagues and volunteers, means foodbanks in Derry will be able to provide vital food and support to local people who are struggling during what could be our busiest December yet.
“Thank you for your support - your generosity will help stop hunger in Derry this Christmas.”
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, said: “What we’re seeing, right across the country, is an increased demand from the organisations we work with for more food.
“They have more mouths to feed.
“There has been a 26% increase in the number of charities signing up to FareShare in the last year, so without the Neighbourhood Food Collection we simply couldn’t meet the growing demand.
“Every single item of food donated will make a difference, so thank you to everyone involved.”
Since the Neighbourhood Food Collection launched in 2012, the equivalent of more 41 million meals have been donated to people in need by generous Tesco customers. Tesco also tops up customer donations by 20%, the only retailer to top up customer donations in this way - helping the charities grow and provide additional support to people in need.
The nationwide collection builds on work done throughout the year to help support people in need such as the permanent food bank collection points in over 600 stores and the Community Food Connection which diverts any surplus food from Tesco stores to local groups at the end of each day.
For more information about the Neighbourhood Food Collection, please go to www.tesco.com/food-