Asda donates £5 million to food banks, extends accessible hours for NHS workers and offers additional colleague support

Asda has teamed up with FareShare and the Trussell Trust to tackle poverty

Asda has announced it will be donating £5 million to its partners FareShare and the Trussell Trust to help the country’s most vulnerable people through COVID-19.

The extensive package of measures will provide over 4 million meals to families in poverty impacted by Coronavirus as well as giving more than 3000 charities the ability to access free food over the next three months as they fight to tackle the impacts of Coronavirus in their communities.

The donation from the supermarket also will help the networks of the two charities as they experience a huge increase in demand over the coming months, as more vulnerable people turn to food banks for help through COVID-19.

Asda is also investing in the logistics and support services that will allow FareShare and the Trussell Trust to support families through the crisis, including funding for telephone, and online and food delivery systems for people unable to afford food, as well as supporting the recruitment of 20,000 volunteers to support food banks.

The funding will also continue the work of the Fight Hunger Create Change partnership between Asda and the two charities by helping tackle the root causes of poverty through supporting 800,000 people over the next year with access to income maximisation services for people at food banks.

CEO, Roger Burnley, comments: “These are the most extraordinary of times and I am keenly aware of our responsibility to help feed the nation – both by keeping our shelves stocked and deliveries moving – but also by providing employment opportunities where we can and supporting our charity partners to help the most vulnerable in our communities. The effort my colleagues are putting in to support our customers every day is fantastic, and we will continue to recognise this wherever we can. I also want to thank our amazing customers who continue to donate to our food bank trollies and who continue to think of others, even in such worrying times.”

Asda has already confirmed that it is working to recruit more than 5000 people into temporary roles from industries impacted by the crisis – helping to ensure people are kept in jobs and wage cost pressures are lifted from struggling companies.

Asda colleagues are working around the clock to keep shelves filled for customers and have been told this week that they will receive full pay should the need to self-isolate as a result of coronavirus symptoms. Today, Asda’s store and distribution colleagues who do not need to self-isolate were told they will receive an additional weeks pay in June as a thank you for their efforts.

Asda has also confirmed that it will be prioritising NHS workers in larger stores every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8-9am.

To protect colleagues, as well as following Government advice on hygiene practice, Asda is also asking that where possible customers use card and contactless payment method in order to reduce the amount of cash colleagues are handling.

Burnley concluded: “We all have a clear responsibility to look after each other during this crisis, particularly our most vulnerable groups. I was heartened to see how our customers respected this priority access and so am proud to be able to extend it to more regular days and also include our amazing NHS colleagues can access our stores with a little more ease.”

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust: “Food banks face an unprecedented challenge in the coming months. As the coronavirus outbreak unfolds, more people are likely to need emergency food at exactly the same time as fewer volunteers are able to help.

"The resilience of food banks is nothing short of outstanding, and we’re working closely with our network to help ensure that wherever possible, people unable to afford the essentials can access help. But this is not easy.

"That’s why this support from Asda will make such a difference. This funding will help us recruit and train new food bank volunteers across the UK, and support the coordination of packing and delivering pre-made food parcels to people who need a food bank’s help, but can’t leave their homes.

"Protecting people from hunger cannot fall to food banks alone, and we’ll be continuing to push for crucial changes that get money into the pockets of people who most need it – while that work is underway, Asda’s support will help us ensure the safety of everyone who needs a food bank during the pandemic.”

Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of FareShare, said:“In this unprecedented time of COVID-19 crisis, we are immensely grateful to our partner Asda for their incredible support of £5 million. This will aid FareShare to adapt its models to reach the 1m vulnerable people who we currently serve and work with our network of frontline charities to achieve the vital doorstep food deliveries and new food distribution methods we know are so essential at this time.”