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Caring home shopping driver Andy sets up own food larder in village to help vulnerable

July 16, 2020 10:29 AM

Our fantastic home shopping driver Andy Poulton not only shops for vulnerable people in his village in his spare time but also runs a community food larder with his partner Dawn Holmes to help residents who are struggling.

The larder – which has been created in an old phone box with the permission of the parish council – is topped up with goods left by the villagers of Silver End in a donation box at the bottom of Andy's front garden.

Andy, who's worked at our Chelmsford store for three years, said: "Dawn brings in the donations and washes everything. We don't put in anything perishable into the phone box. You won't get any fresh produce. It's mainly tins, pastas, cereals a lot of toiletries, soaps, washing powders, things like that. And a lot of pet food goes out believe it or not. It really is sad to know just how many people are actually using the phone box.

"Dawn is also a parish councillor, so each year she gets an allowance to be given to charity. She has used hers to buy food for the phone box and some of her fellow councillors have done the same."

Andy also spends some of his spare time shopping for about six households in the village, including a 92-year-old lady.

He said: "It takes my about two-and-a half hours to do the all the shops each week in our Asda – I have big A4 lists of items that I have to go through. After I've got the shopping I deliver it too.

"A lot of elderly people I shop for wanted to pay me for my time, but I said 'No, No I don't want any money' I just want to make sure they're all okay. So instead they've given cash donations to Dawn for the community larder.

"Yes it is community spirited what I do, but I haven't done this for recognition. I have just done it to help people in our village. I didn't put myself out there to help people I waited for people to tell me they were struggling and then I offered."

Store manager Emma Smith says everyone at the store is immensely proud of Andy. She said: "As a home delivery driver he's been making sure the vulnerable people in the community have been getting the shopping that they need, but not only has he been doing that he's also been helping and supporting his own community with the food larder and shopping for people in the community. What he's been doing is amazing.

"Andy's such a fantastic guy, a great colleague and a credit to our store and Asda. We are just really so proud of him. "