We're donating almost £100,000 to provide families with access to food during the school holidays.
The donation, which is funded jointly by Asda and the Asda Foundation, will be given to our community champions in 387 of our larger stores to spend on food for groups providing services to children during half term.
The latest donation is in addition to the Asda Foundation’s Healthy Holiday grants, which have been running for several years. These grants, which are applied for by Community Champions on behalf of community groups, are worth up to £1,000, are designed to help charities and local groups provide healthy holiday activities, including nutritious meals and support services for mental health and wellbeing.
Jo Warner, Asda’s Senior Director for Community, said: “This year it’s more important than ever to support our local communities through the unprecedented challenges they continue to face. We know that throughout the school holidays, food banks and charities see an increase in demand for emergency food parcels, which is why we’re pleased to be able to provide essential food and other supplies for those who typically rely on a school meal during term time.
“We welcome the additional support from the Asda Foundation, and together we’re proud to support our community champions, who are at the heart of our communities, to do our bit to help the most vulnerable families when it’s most needed.”
Since March we have donated £5 million to FareShare and the Trussell Trust, which has allowed them to 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.
We've also been investing in the logistics and support services that allow the food charities 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.
Our funding continues the work of our Fight Hunger Create Change partnership with 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.
Here are a few examples of some of the local initiatives helped by our donations:
Cadogs Corner in Barry has been working with FareShare Cymru, FareShare’s south Wales warehouse, to get food parcels to vulnerable families.
Thanks to a donation from Asda, FareShare Cymru managed to get more than double the food it was distributing before lockdown enabling it to deliver enough food to create 50,000 meals a week.
Natasha Cockram, pictured above, who runs Cadogs Corner, has close links with Cadoxton Primary School and, alongside a team of volunteers, she's been working to package food provided by FareShare into parcels and get them out to vulnerable pupils and families in the area.
She said the need for their support had skyrocketed since the coronavirus outbreak.
Natasha said: “We’re really grateful for FareShare. It’s a really valuable food supply for the families we support and it’s made such a difference through the lockdown, especially as we’re able to offer fresher ingredients.”
Evelyn Community Food Store in Deptford, London, has been working with FareShare London to get food to vulnerable families and individuals on the local housing estate. Thanks to support from Asda, FareShare London has increased the amount of food it distributes each week fourfold.
Natasha Ricketts, pictured above, who runs the operation along with a team of volunteers, said: “We couldn’t do what we do without FareShare. They provide most of our food and without them we couldn’t offer anywhere near the amount of fresh fruit and veg that we do, which is so important for the families we work with in the area.”
Citizens Advice Bureau in the Outer Hebrides has been working with FareShare Grampian to get food parcels to those who need it most through the coronavirus lockdown.
With a donation from Asda, FareShare Grampian got more than double the food it was distributing before lockdown. In the Outer Hebrides food supplies provided by FareShare has been crucial for those facing hardship through the pandemic and Citizens Advice Bureau has been working to get food parcels to those who need it most.
Steve Hankinson, Strategic Manager of the Western Isles Citizens Advice Service, said: “FareShare food gives real tangible help to support those in need. We all wish that all food help wasn’t needed but right now it is, no matter where you live. Being able to help people in this way supports them through very difficult parts of their lives with a dignity and promise that people exist who really do care for others.”
Weavers Community Forum, situated in Bethnal Green, London, started as a community centre and after school youth club accommodating families on a low income. However, since the start of the lockdown they have been delivering food parcels to vulnerable households, families and the teenagers from their group.
Asda Barking provides donations of food to the Forum once a week via FareShare Go to support the food parcel scheme.
Yousuf Khan, pictured, Operations Manager at Weavers Community Forum, said: “We wanted to do something to support the people in our community and then the pandemic kicked in. So we contacted FareShare to arrange food collections with Asda to provide people with food parcels. The FareShare and Asda support has been very useful. The food we get through FareShare is made into packs for people, we see how much we can fit in. The Asda collections are good and we get mostly ambient food as well as fresh fruit and vegetables.”
During the pandemic we have have been helping get new volunteers into food banks supporting the Trussell Trust with a digital volunteer system that connects volunteers to nearby food banks that need their support.
At places such as Brent Foodbank and Burngreave Foodbank this has meant not only could they link up with nearby people eager to give their time – but they could also organise who was volunteering and when really quickly and easily through the system, saving valuable hours during a period when the food bank was busier than ever before.
Our community champions such as Clare Jones from our Newport store on the Isle of Wight, pictured above, have also been busy arranging Healthy Holidays grants for charities through the Asda Foundation. Clare recently handed over a cheque for £500 to Rachel Thomson, manager of Pan Together, and said: "The charity was delighted. The money will be used to help feed children during the October half-term holidays."
And Lorraine Smith, community champion at our Burnden Park store in Bolton, shared this photo of herself with a £500 Healthy Holidays cheque for the children at St Matthew's Primary School in Bolton.