Our Leigh store’s wonderful community champion Gwen Appleton has volunteered at her local food bank every week for the last five years – and now she’s helped secure a £29,808 donation for it from the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme.
The donation will enable Atherton and Leigh Foodbank to pay the rent at their distribution warehouse, which volunteers say would have been hard to pay for without the grant.
Gwen's also helped them arrange awareness days in stores and set up a collection point for donations.
She said: "I love going to the food bank. The volunteers are marvellous and they do everything they can to help people.
"It can be quite emotional talking to the people who come in, but my aim is to make them leave with a smile on their face knowing that support is out there for them. Talking always makes things better."
Gwen helped the food bank apply for the money from the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme, which is donating £20 million to The Trussell Trust and FareShare over three years to help more than one million people facing food insecurity.
She has also supported the food bank by arranging regular awareness days in the store, and by setting up a permanent point for donations too. The food bank also recently received £500 after winning the Green Token Giving customer vote for local good causes.
Warren Done, project manager at Atherton & Leigh Foodbank, says everyone there appreciates Gwen’s efforts – and that the donation is making a huge difference.
He said: "This money allows us to pay for the lease on our distribution warehouse, which is absolutely crucial for us.
"We managed to get the warehouse for free for six months, but that six months has now expired so we would have had to have started paying for it, which would have been very difficult for us to afford.
"Gwen told us about the Fight Hunger funding and this has come at exactly the right time.
"She's brilliant – she's really got the community at heart and loves coming along to help us.
"She sits down and talks to people who come in. She chats to them about their issues and is great with them – we get lots of feedback saying she's a fantastic listener.
"Another big bonus for us is she organises our awareness days in store. Three or four times a year we go in to raise awareness about what we do, and we collect a ton of food when we do those, as well as having a collection point at the store all year round."
The food bank is open five days a week and feeds around 150 people every week in the area, as well as providing advice and support.
Asda Fight Hunger Create Change: Our partnership with FareShare and the Trussell Trust is marking its first anniversary. Find out more about the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme and how it's helped people living in food insecurity here.