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How a year of our Fight Hunger programme has helped people living in food poverty

February 22, 2019 04:44pm
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A big thank you to all the customers and colleagues across the country who've helped the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme make a difference to people facing food insecurity.

The Asda Fight Hunger Create Change initiative, which is marking its first anniversary, is donating £20 million to The Trussell Trust and FareShare over three years. The programme has so far provided an extra five million meals to people in need, as well as funding research into food bank usage and long-term solutions to the problems leading people to use food banks.

Around £2 million has been granted so far to 90 of the Trussell Trust's food banks so they can tackle the root causes of food poverty, and the programme has also paid for three new FareShare warehouses to distribute supplies to more foodbanks and bought eight new chillers so the food charities can offer more fresh fruit and vegetables in addition to the standard three-day emergency parcels.

Jonathan Lees at Epsom & Ewell Foodbank, which has received a grant, said: “With demand on our food bank accelerating alarmingly, we cannot simply increase the scale of what we do – it is just not sustainable. Using this grant, we plan to take a different approach. We want to explore the root causes of poverty and begin to transform systems and cultures within public, private and voluntary sector organisations in East Surrey through a Poverty Truth Commission. The commission will work together to understand and address the causes and symptoms of poverty, ensuring that those affected by poverty, and their stories, are central to decisions made about how to tackle it. Let’s hope that the outcome is that one day no one will need our food bank.”

Asda Fight Hunger Create Change at Asda Gosforth

We've got permanent collection points for local foodbanks in all our larger stores, like the one in the picture above at our Gosforth store, and thanks to the generosity of our customers and colleagues we've donated thousands of tons of food to in-store donation points – equating to more than one million meals.

Debbie Kenney and Andy Murray from Asda with Lindsay Boswell and Sadiq Ahmed from FareShare
Debbie Kenney and Andy Murray from Asda with Lindsay Boswell and Sadiq Ahmed from FareShare

The funding has enabled FareShare to open new warehouses with extra capacity for donations and chilled sections in Leeds and Leicester (pictured above), and has also allowed them to expand their London depot. These new facilities alone will allow FareShare to provide 1.8 million more meals.

Simone Connolly, Director of FareShare East Midlands, said: “Since the opening of our brand new warehouse in Leicester, our impact has increased dramatically. The new warehouse is over twice the size of our previous premises, effectively doubling our capacity as we aim to provide over 500,000 additional meals to people in need over the next year."

Our suppliers have donated 2.2 million extra meals through the scheme, and 150,000 meals have been donated by our stores directly to local groups and charities.

Asda, FareShare and The Trussell Trust open new Leeds warehouse
Colleagues and volunteers at the opening of the Leeds warehouse

Many of our colleagues, including our team of community champions, have volunteered their time to help local foodbanks and community hubs – like Avril Dullea, the community champion at our Glenrothes store. She spends every Friday there and has become a 'real friend' to the team.

Asda Glenrothes community champion Avril at Glenrothes foodbank
Jilly and Avril have become friends

Many of our colleagues have been out and about in the community to see how Fight Hunger is making a difference – and what they can do to help. Our Chesser store's community champion Gary Anderson joined volunteers at a cafe for armed forces veterans in Edinburgh to see for himself how the funding they've received has meant they now receive more fresh food.

Asda Fight Hunger Create Change scheme supports the Veterans Community Cafe in Edinburgh
Gary chats to forces veteran Tom McMurray

A charity providing children who've struggled in mainstream education with the practical skills they need for adult life says the better quality food they're receiving from a new distribution centre opened thanks to the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change initiative is putting smiles on students' faces.

Asda Thurmaston community champion Melissa at Melton Learning Hub

A food distribution centre delivering essential supplies to local foodbanks and groups in the North East has been able to move to a bigger site and install storage for chilled and frozen food thanks to funding from the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme.

Asda Byker community champion Ashleigh with Aly from Byker Community Centre

Scotstoun Community Centre in Clydebank say the 'fantastic' support from Asda has helped them receive more nutritious food to serve to people in need.

Asda Clydebank community champion Linda Maguire at Heart of Scotstoun

Volunteers at a community centre in Belfast providing vital food, activities and support for hundreds of local people say they've been able to keep their doors open thanks to weekly deliveries from FareShare.

Asda Belfast Westwood community champion Noeleen with community centre volunteers

Many of our stores are also taking part in a new trial to give local foodbanks and community groups good quality food that would otherwise go to waste. Here's how our Ellesmere Port and Queensferry stores have helped an organisation which hosts community lunches. We're committed to making sure all of our stores donate surplus food to food banks by 2020.

Asda Ellesmere Port donate good to the Port Grocery

Over the three years, the partnership will help provide even more support to people referred to food banks, fund a three-year research project into the drivers of food bank use, provide an additional 24 million meals every year as well as one million fresh food parcels to people across the UK.

Andy Murray, Chief Customer Officer at Asda said: “It’s been a year since we launched our partnership with Trussell Trust and FareShare, and I’m incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made to change the face of food poverty in the UK. As we move into the second year of our campaign, we’ll continue to provide not just meals for people but support to help them out of poverty, and we thank our customers and colleagues for their ongoing support in our challenge to fight hunger."

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said: “No one should need a food bank’s help. While we work in the long-term to tackle the structural issues that lock people in poverty, food banks will be able to provide even more vital support to people referred. We’ve never been in a position to support our network to deliver help to this extent before – the nature of investment is unprecedented. These grants will provide crucial additional resources to food banks, increasing the diversity and breadth of the services they can offer people in crisis and tackle the root causes of poverty.”

Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, said: “The Fight Hunger Create Change programme is already enabling unprecedented transformation for the UK’s charities and community groups. Thanks to Asda’s funding FareShare has been able to open new warehouses, lease more vans and – most importantly - service more charities with more vital nutritious meals, ensuring surplus food is diverted to those who need it most. It has also enabled FareShare to work in close partnership with the Trussell Trust to make a real lasting impact in fighting hunger, as we roll out redistribution of fresh surplus fruit and veg to its network of food banks.”

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