Food bank appeal sees 30,000 items donated to help those impacted by Coronavirus in the West Midlands

Kind-hearted communities have donated over 30,000 items to an urgent food bank appeal in less than two weeks to help those impacted by Coronavirus in the West Midlands.

Central England Co-op launched the campaign after its food bank partners revealed they had seen donations drop and demand risk.

However, despite the amazing community response to the appeal, food banks have pleaded with people to continue to donate vital items as supplies continue to remain low and demand continues to rise by the day.

On average, food banks are seeing a 50% fall in donations coupled with a 100% rise in requests for food parcels with new enquiries coming from people who are self isolating, self employed and families who have children that would normally be getting free school meals.

Food banks being supported by this appeal in the West Midlands include B30 Food Bank, Esther Community, Quinton and Oldbury Food bank, Bethany Food Bank and Lichfield Food Bank.

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive, said: “Our communities continue to do us proud and support this vital food bank appeal.

“Our food bank partners are working around the clock to react to a rise in demand and we can all support in our own little way by donating an item or two so they can carry on their great work during these uncertain times.”

Items needed for the food bank appeal include cereal, tinned food and fruit, tea bags, dried pasta, rice, long life milk, sugar, biscuits, fruit juice and squash, pasta sauce and instant coffee.

Donations will be collected up from Central England Co-op stores and used to create food parcels, which contain around 11 items and will provide at least three days’ worth of meals for those in need.

Kevin Warrington, manager of Bethany Food Bank, in Erdington, said: “We are seeing a small decline in people coming to our food bank due to government restrictions but we are getting calls from people who can't get out so we are trying to help them as much as possible although this is difficult due to transport cost and people willing to go out.

“We are still busy trying to help as many as possible so we have extended our opening times and although we are only open three days a week to the public people like social services and schools are calling on us five days a week.”

David Clark, from Lichfield Food Bank, said: “In three days last week we fed over 200 people.  This is a huge number for us and has left us short of stock in a number of areas.  

“We would be especially grateful for donations of tinned meat, long-life fruit juice, tinned fruit, tinned fish, rice pudding, long-life milk, tea/coffee and jars of pasta sauce or tinned tomatoes. 

“Our volunteers are working incredibly hard to feed as many people as need our services and they are grateful for every donation made by Central England Co-op customers, who always support us so well.”

People can keep up to date with how Central England Co-op is responding to the Coronavirus by visiting www.centralengland.coop/updates

 

Notes to editors

Picture caption: Central England Co-op are working with food banks partners to try and boost donations.

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.

 

Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 

 

Our 7,900 colleagues who serve Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.

 

Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

 

We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.

 

We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.

 

Visit www.centralengland.coop for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood

 

 

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

 

Phone - 01543 421390

 

Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop