UK supermarkets are rallying to donate to a multi-million-pound fighting fund to help food bank charities struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Morrison’s is the latest supermarket to step up, promising to donate products worth £10 million by July. The retailer said it plans to produce extra fresh food from its own sites as well as ramping up donations of tinned and dried goods to meet the ambitious target.
Last week Asda announced it would donate £5 million in cash to help food bank charities, while the Co-op said it would donate goods worth £1.5m.
Food banks under pressure
Some four million vulnerable UK families rely on food bank charities, such as the Trussell Trust and Fareshare, to put enough food on their tables. But while demand for food bank services has increased, it is estimated that in-store customer donations have dropped by more than 40% since the outbreak began.
This is partly due to stay-home grocery shoppers and restrictions on the number of items customers can purchase. Self-isolating food bank volunteers, who are often elderly, are also staying at home, adding to charities’ woes.
Supermarket’s coronavirus fightback
As part of grocery’s Covid-19 fightback, Morrisons has promised to extend production by an extra hour every day at its bakery, egg and fruit and vegetable packing site to make the food available.
In a bid to boost customer donations the supermarket is also increasing its limit on the number of items shoppers can buy to four and it is re-opening its in-store cafes as food bank donation areas.
Meanwhile Lidl has said that it will start donating thousands of fresh fruit and vegetable bags to NHS staff in an effort to help provide front-line health workers with fresh produce.