Thousands of meals donated to help support people struggling with food poverty

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 July 2020

The Tesco Community Food Connection Programme has seen 94,000 meals donated across Barking and Dagenham. Picture: Andrew Parsons

The Tesco Community Food Connection Programme has seen 94,000 meals donated across Barking and Dagenham. Picture: Andrew Parsons

©2018 Andrew Parsons / i-Images

A supermarket chain has donated almost 100,000 meals to help people in Barking and Dagenham who are struggling with food poverty.

The Community Food Connection scheme, run in partnership with food redistribution charity FareShare, sees surplus food from Tesco stores used to provide meals for those most in need, rather than it going to waste.

It works by each of the chain’s branches - from large superstores such as the one in Highbridge Road, Barking to the smaller convenience stores - pairing with nearby charities and community groups.

At the end of each day, a Tesco employee works out which food is likely to be unsold and then uses a specially-developed app to tell a local charity or community group which items can be collected.

Since the initiative began five years ago, more than 50 million meals have been donated across the country - 94,000 in Barking and Dagenham alone.

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FareShare’s chief executive Lindsay Boswell said the scheme was making a real difference.

“We are delighted that Tesco has reached this milestone – donating the equivalent of 50 million meals is no mean feat and has gone such a long way in supporting thousands of charities and community groups up and down the country,” he said.

“The scheme is a real game-changer for organisations working with the vulnerable, allowing even more people to access good to eat food which would otherwise go to waste.”

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for support from the Community Food Connection scheme, with nearly 700 new organisations signing up to receive food from the scheme in the past four months.

Tesco’s chief executive Jason Tarry said: “Tesco Community Food Connection has made a real difference to communities.

“Now that we are five years into the scheme the fact that we have donated 50m meals allows us to reflect on its success, and the difference the scheme has made not only in feeding people in communities across the UK but also to tackling climate change.

“However, there is more to do, and we are looking at how we can divert even more food from waste in future.”

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