Just before Christmas, I visited the Tesco store on Princes Road, Chelmsford to support their ninth Neighbourhood Food Collection, which is held in partnership with The Trussell Trust and FareShare.
I was overwhelmed by the generosity of shoppers who contributed to a collection which, nationally, provided more than 2.8 million meals to people in need across the country. Since Tesco launched the collection back in 2012, a staggering 41 million meals have been collected.
Donation points in supermarkets and churches help people who often find themselves in desperate need of support. There are many reasons why people may find themselves in this situation, from receiving an unexpected bill when on a low income to being alone and struggling to fight an addiction.
Tesco now runs collection points in over 600 of its stores. In some stores the donations will be collected for The Trussell Trust and in others for the regional FareShare depot from where it is distributed to community groups and local charities.
The support which supermarkets offer is not only invaluable in providing support to people who really need it, but since 2012, it has also helped tackle the growing issue of food waste. Working with FareShare, Tesco has diverted over 5,900 tonnes of surplus food from its online and fresh food distribution centres to charities and community groups around the UK. This is enough to provide 15 million meals to people in need. For many years, people have been writing to me to complain about the sheer volume of food that is wasted in this country and it is very encouraging to see that positive steps are being taken to tackle the problem.