The Asda Fight Hunger Create Change campaign has enabled food charity FareShare to open a huge new warehouse near Leicester which will transform the way they provide food to people in need across the East Midlands.
Debbie Kenney, community champion at our Braunstone store in Leicester, regularly helps food charities in the city. She joined volunteers and our chief customer officer Andy Murray, FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell, FareShare East Midlands director Simone Connolly, volunteer manager Sadiq Ahamed and charity patron Rosemary Conley at the depot's opening.
The centre has extra capacity and a large chilled area, meaning food can be stored for longer and that FareShare can help more charities feed more people. We've also paid for a van and driver to deliver supplies across the area.
It's the latest in a series of big initiatives with FareShare and the Trussell Trust as we invest at least £20 million over the next three years as part of the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme to help lift a million people out of food poverty.
Volunteer manager Sadiq Ahamed, pictured below with Rosemary, leads the team of around 20 volunteers at the site. He said: "It's hard to put into words how much of a difference this warehouse will make – it means so much to all of us.
"We were struggling before in terms of space, and we also had to turn some chilled food away simply because we had nowhere to store it, which obviously we never want to do.
"Now we do have somewhere to store it, and we all had big smiles on our faces when we saw this new facility. We'll be able to help more groups, and drastically increase the meals we get out to people."
FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell said: "The opening of this incredible new warehouse is literally transformational for us – my jaw dropped when I saw it. It will allow us to help tens of thousands more people.
"In the past we had a situation where we knew charities wanted the food, and the food was out there, but we didn't have the capacity to take it.
"Now we can take on 60 more charities across the East Midlands each year. This will boost the fantastic work of these charities and in turn, the families and individuals who receive meals from them.
"Words can't describe the degree of gratitude we have to Asda. What's happening here, a bigger warehouse with bigger chillers and the ability to take more food, is being repeated across the UK.
"Our depots have long waiting lists of charities whose funding is being cut and they're really struggling to provide meals, so to have a partner like Asda on board is amazing – it's helped us mature as an organisation."
Braunstone Food Share is a local charity, supported by FareShare, which provides meals and support for people in crisis.
Debbie has volunteered with the group for several years, and customers at our nearby store regularly fill trolleys with donations for the group.
The charity's coordinator Ali Gamble said: "The new warehouse will offer more storage than the old one. This means, on our weekly delivery from the warehouse, we will receive much longer dated goods which will help so much with how we plan things.
"If we get something donated which is about to expire, unless we can freeze it, we have to throw it away, so this new warehouse will really help stop food waste too.
"We have around 150 members who rely on our service, so we're very grateful for this. Debbie's been involved with us for six years and has been fantastic. We have a great relationship with her and Asda."
Debbie said: "We donate around two trolley loads a week. The customers are so generous it's beyond belief really. They are outstanding when it comes to thinking of others."
Asda Fight Hunger Create Change: Read more from our chief customer officer Andy Murray about why the opening of the new FareShare East Midlands depot is such an important milestone in the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change campaign.