We’re donating £5 million to food charities FareShare and The Trussell Trust to help them support the most vulnerable people in our communities during the coronavirus outbreak.
The donation means the charities can provide meals to families in poverty impacted by coronavirus, as well as giving the 3,000 charities they in turn support the ability to access free food over the next three months as they fight to tackle the local impact of the virus.
We’re also investing in the logistics and support services that will allow FareShare and the Trussell Trust to support families through the crisis, including funding for telephone and online referrals, and food parcel delivering systems for people unable to afford food, as well as supporting the recruitment of 20,000 volunteers for food banks in the Trussell Trust network.
The funding will also continue the work of the Fight Hunger Create Change partnership between Asda and the two charities, which is helping tackle the root causes of poverty by providing 800,000 people with access to debt and financial advice over the next year.
Our chief executive officer Roger Burnley said: These are the most extraordinary of times and I am keenly aware of our responsibility to help feed the nation – both by keeping our shelves stocked and deliveries moving – but also by providing employment opportunities where we can and supporting our charity partners to help the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Our colleagues are working around the clock to keep shelves filled for customers and have been told this week that they will receive full pay should the need to self-isolate as a result of coronavirus symptoms.
Our store and distribution colleagues who do not need to self-isolate will receive an additional week's pay in June as a thank you for their efforts. We're also working to recruit more than 5,000 people into temporary roles from industries impacted by the crisis.
We'll be prioritising NHS workers in our larger stores every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8-9am. To protect colleagues, as well as following Government advice on hygiene practice, we're also asking that where possible customers use card and contactless payment method in order to reduce the amount of cash colleagues are handling.
Mr Burnley said: "The efforts my colleagues are going to support our customers every day are fantastic, and we will continue to recognise their efforts wherever we can. I also want to thank our amazing customers who continue to donate to our food bank trollies and who continue to think of others, even in such worrying times.
"We all have a clear responsibility to look after each other during this crisis, particularly our most vulnerable groups. I was heartened to see how our customers respected this priority access and so am proud to be able to extend it to more regular days and also include our amazing NHS colleagues can access our stores with a little more ease.”
We have dedicated collection points for local food banks in all our larger stores, and colleagues have been amazed to see how many of our generous customers are continuing to support them by donating essential food and supplies.
Jim Hunter, manager of our Dunfermline store, shared this photo of donations to the local food bank on Instagram:
He said: "Today we were able to stop for a minute and think of others, mainly the local food bank. There maybe wasn’t that much on the shelves but loads of today’s customers dug deep and donated six full trollies of desperately needed goods. Massive thanks for all of today’s donations, let’s see just how much we can collect this week. We all know we’re buying too much so let’s think of those who need it more."
Our Bootle store's community champion Colette Joynson thanked customers for continuing to support South Sefton Food Bank:
And Mary Sutherland, the community champion at our Blantyre store, shared this picture:
She said: "In the face of adversity Blantyre folks never fail! The food bank left with two full to the brim trolleys! Thank you to all our customers and colleagues!"
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, says Asda’s support will make a real difference the work of food banks as they come to terms with the impact of coronavirus.
She said: “Food banks face an unprecedented challenge in the coming months. As the coronavirus outbreak unfolds, more people are likely to need emergency food at exactly the same time as fewer volunteers are able to help.
"The resilience of food banks is nothing short of outstanding, and we’re working closely with our network to help ensure that wherever possible, people unable to afford the essentials can access help. But this is not easy. That’s why this support from Asda will make such a difference.
“This funding will help us recruit and train new food bank volunteers across the UK, and support the coordination of packing and delivering pre-made food parcels to people who need a food bank’s help, but can’t leave their homes. Protecting people from hunger cannot fall to food banks alone, and we’ll be continuing to push for crucial changes that get money into the pockets of people who most need it – while that work is underway, Asda’s support will help us ensure the safety of everyone who needs a food bank during the pandemic.”
Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of FareShare, said: “In this unprecedented time of COVID-19 crisis, we are immensely grateful to our partner Asda for their incredible support of £5 million. This will aid FareShare to adapt its models to reach the 1m vulnerable people who we currently serve and work with our network of frontline charities to achieve the vital doorstep food deliveries and new food distribution methods we know are so essential at this time.”