AS the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, Antrim Foodbank is calling on shoppers to donate food and other essentials to this year’s Tesco Summer Food Collection.
From Thursday (June 30) to Saturday July 2, customers at Tesco Extra Massereene will be encouraged to pick up an extra item or two to drop in special donation trollies on the way out of store.
And this support is needed now more than ever, as too many local families are facing the biggest income squeeze in a generation - and many people on the very lowest incomes are struggling to put food on the table.
All food donations will be used to support people across the Antrim area who are experiencing hardship and will be forced to use a food bank over the coming months.
The figures are certainly stark.
Across the UK the number of food parcels distributed in the 12 months from April 21 2021 soared by 14 per cent.
But in Antrim demand has rocketed by 102 per cent over the same period.
A grand total of 4,342 parcels were handed out during that difficult spell - 1,947 of them to children on the breadline.
Which makes the latest initiative all the more pressing.
The collection has been organised by Tesco who will generously top up customers’ food donations with a financial donation of 20 per cent of the value of the items donated, which will support Antrim Foodbank in the provision of emergency food parcels and practical support.
Customers are being asked to donate essential items of long-life food such as UHT milk, fruit juice, tinned goods and toiletries.
Fionnuala O’Donnell, project manager of Antrim Foodbank, is urging local people in Antrim to give generously to the food collection during their supermarket shop.
“No one in Antrim should be facing hunger and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all,” she said.
“While we work alongside other food banks in the Trussell Trust network to bring about long-term change to ensure everyone has enough money for the essentials, any donations of our most-needed items will be invaluable.
“Thanks to Tesco and the generosity of its customers, we hope to continue to offer vital support to families and children over the coming months, which will know will be particularly tough for many people in the local area.”
The Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of over 1,300 food bank centres including Antrim Foodbank, has seen long-term increases in numbers of emergency food parcels distributed to people who are facing hardship.
Food banks in its network provided over 2.1 million emergency food parcels in the last year, with over 800,000 of these given for children. As soaring living costs continue to put pressure on families, food banks help make sure that people in crisis get the support they need over the summer period, and beyond.
“As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, food banks are doing all they can to help meet the extra financial pressures that families are facing,” said Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust.
“But for many people, the coming months will be a particularly tough period as they struggle to cover the basic costs of living such as bills, food and other essentials.
“Food banks in our network always work incredibly hard to ensure that people facing hardship get support – but we have sadly seen need accelerate over the recent months.
“Food banks are calling on the public to support them by donating food to support people unable to afford life’s essentials.
“No one should have to go without something as essential as food, but I have no doubt that the generosity of Tesco customers and colleagues this summer will once again help food banks provide the best possible help to families facing hunger today, while working towards a future where everyone can afford the essentials in life – like food.
“Thank you for your generosity - together we can make a difference.”