Fountain Foodbank volunteers delight over ‘amazing generosity’

Fountain Foodbank volunteers delight over ‘amazing generosity’

11 September 2019

VOLUNTEERS at the Fountain Foodbank in Downpatrick have thanked staff and customers at the town’s Asda store for their “amazing generosity”.

Volunteers from the cross-community charity were recently invited to the store by Asda community champion, Linda Owens, to encourage customers to donate to the foodbank via a staffed donation trolley at the entrance.

As part of a recent Fight Hunger initiative, the Downpatrick store allowed volunteers to distribute leaflets encouraging donations for a week during the busy summer period. 

Foodbank volunteer co-ordinator, Shirley Lennon, said the charity — managed by Downpatrick Presbyterian Church — wishes to thank all staff and customers for their amazing generosity in donating so much useful food to the foodbank. 

In fact, she revealed that so much food was donated that volunteers had some difficulty in storing and sorting the many items which kept them very busy, explaining that it was a great problem to have.

Shirley continued: “Summer holidays can be a difficult time for many families on low incomes due to increased needs from the children and we appreciated the donations. It was also an effective way to promote the work that we do and raise awareness among the regular customers to Asda. “The foodbank has noticed an increase in donations to our permanent collection point in the store since the campaign ands partnerships like this make our work so much more effective.”

Downpatrick store manager, Roger Croskery, said Asda has always always been proud to support the communities it serves.

“Our community champions work tirelessly to support charities, projects and initiatives that make a real difference to the people living around their Asda shop,” he said.

“But we want to do even more to help local communities across the UK to save money so they can live better. We’ll do this is by doing our part to tackle the growing issue of poverty in the UK and our Fight Hunger campaign is part of this work”.

Roger and Linda, along withy other staff members from the Downpatrick store, recently visited the Fountain Foodbank to see the impact the donations have made, to meet volunteers and find out more about how the foodbank works.

The foodbank provides emergency food parcels to those who find themselves in difficult circumstances and has distributed over three thousand food parcels in the local area since opening in March 2015.

It also receives weekly donations of fresh food from Asda as part of an ongoing scheme with FareShare which has 25 years’ experience working with the food industry to safely divert edible surplus through a UK-wide network of frontline charities fighting food poverty. 

FareShare works with businesses and charities to get food to good causes in a way that’s cost effective and makes sense for the business and the charities, with the Fountain Foodbank registered to receive some of this food. 

The volunteers say this particular initiative is an effective way to cut down on waste and help those who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

Asda says that by the end of the Fight Hunger campaign, it  aims to provide an additional 24 million meals every year by investing in the charities’ infrastructure and services so they can collect, store and transport more food.

In addition, the store aims to provide 500,000 vulnerable people access to fresh food every year and make fresh food the norm in food banks and not the exception. 

Asda also wants to tackle the root causes of poverty, helping one million people with the food and support they need to help them out of the situation they are in and expand the company’s existing food donation activities so every one of its stores has the ability to donate edible surplus food to local food banks and community groups.