Southern Co-op is providing an extra boost this winter for local food banks with £40,000 worth of gift cards
The retailer, which supports more than 70 food banks with collection points, will be sending out 4,000 community gift cards worth £10 each to help families and individuals affected by the cost of living increases.
A further £25,000 is being donated to Neighbourly’s Warm Communities Fund – set up to provide ‘needs-led’ micro-grants to charities and community groups providing ‘warm banks’, food donations and low-cost-to-prepare food items.
According to Neighbourly, a network representing over 22,000 local charities and good causes, 65 per cent of these causes have a seen a drop in financial donations yet the average annual energy bill for community charities is expected to rise by 119 per cent from £7,600 to £16,700.
“This winter will be especially hard for so many people in our local communities. On top of that, the local causes that people rely on for help, are also facing serious difficulties,” Gemma Lacey, Southern Co-op’s sustainability and communications director, said.
“We hope this targeted support will help make a difference alongside our in store food banks which provide the opportunity for those who are able, to donate products to support their local community.
“It is times like these when the community co-operative spirit is essential as we all come together to do what we can.”
It is hoped that the gift cards will allow people the opportunity to select their own products and possibly a small treat for the season.
The gift cards are on top of the food bank donations made by store and funeral branch customers everyday. From January to September 2022, customers and members have donated 11,388kg of goods equating to approximately 4,783 meals.
Holly Bramble, Southern Co-op’s community lead, said: “We all need to look beyond Christmas and focus on continued support throughout the whole of the winter and beyond.
“One way our customers can do this is by continuing to swipe their membership card every time they shop as 2p will be donated to our food bank partners each and every time they swipe.”