Jim Fitzpatrick, the Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse has visited the Canary Wharf branch of Tesco to support the supermarket chain’s Christmas annual initiative to encourage shoppers to donate food for those in need.
More than 2,600 Tesco stores across the UK, including those in the ELL boroughs, are running their tenth year of food collections in partnership with Deptford-based FareShare and the Trussell Trust, the foodbank charity.
The local charity FareShare redistribute donated food to local charities including homeless shelters, children’s breakfast clubs, women’s refuges, and older people’s lunch clubs.
Fitzpatrick visited the Canary Wharf Tesco Metro last Friday, to show his support for the initiative. He told ELL: “I appreciate, and want to thank, the volunteers for their efforts. I encourage anyone shopping in local supermarkets to try to put something in the box. It is an amazing thing to do, especially in the run up to Christmas.”
Lindsey Boswell, the CEO of Fairshare said: “The donated food will make a tremendous difference to local charities doing amazing work with some of the most vulnerable people in our community. The need is increasing and we want 2017 to be our biggest year ever.”
During the weekend, volunteers invited shoppers to put one or two long-life items, such as pasta, tea or tins of tomatoes, in a donation box to help people in need for over the festive period.
Sophia Wood, from London, who was one of the volunteers, said: “It’s a great thing to get involved with this Christmas because you are doing something worthwhile. You see people collecting donations from their offices to support the initiative, so that we can put some fantastic food on the table for people this Christmas.”
During last year’s festive food collection, Tesco shoppers donated enough food to provide 3.4 million meals for vulnerable people across the UK, making it the country’s biggest food drive. Tesco will top-up donations by 20%, so that FareShare to get even more food to people in need.
Aron Stammers, store manager of the Canary Wharf Tesco Metro, said the store collects around one thousand meals every week. He expected three thousand meals could be collected through the campaign: “We have already received a large cart of food for the charity on the first day, so it’s really encouraging.”
The campaign has collected over 46 million meals for people in need since it was launched in 2012.