Waitrose and Partners Weekend Issue 579

25 NOVEMB ER 2021 7 It might sound like a small thing. But adding a few staples to your shopping basket – cans of meat and potatoes, cartons of UHTmilk and longlife juice – canmake a big di erence to families in need at this time of year. “Christmas is supposed to be a season of joy and celebration, but for millions of people it can be a really tough time as they struggle to cover the basics such as heating, bills, food and other essentials,” says Jo Cooke, director of public engagement for The Trussell Trust, the charity which provides emergency food and support to people facing poverty. “The cost of living is set to increase this winter and we are concerned that toomany families will once again be forced intomaking impossible decisions. This December, foodbanks in our network face giving out 7,000 emergency food parcels to people in crisis every single day. These numbers are truly heartbreaking.” With the economic turbulence of the pandemic It’s the season of giving and we can all do our bit to help people in need over the festive period by donating our time, money or food when we next visit the supermarket, writes Alice Ryan SPREADING THE LOVE The Trussell Trust foodbank warehouse (main); a basket of donated goods (top); FareShare volunteers (above) Small ways to make a big difference this Christmas To support The Trussell Trust, make a donation at food collection points in selected Waitrose stores. FareShare and Home-Start UK are supported by the John Lewis Partnership’s Give a Little Love campaign. To donate, look out for the in-store QR codes and visit waitrose.com/love or johnlewis.com/love. All customer monetary donations will be divided equally between the two charities (FareShare: registered charity number 1100051 and Home-Start UK: registered charity number 1108837; SC039172 in Scotland) and other local good causes. See waitrose. com/love for full terms and conditions. increasing financial pressures for many, Trussell Trust gave out a record 2.5million food parcels in the year fromApril 2020 toMarch 2021 via the 1,300 foodbanks it supports nationwide. The charity has permanent food donation points inWaitrose stores across the country and, while festive treats are welcome, it’s the essentials that people really need – cannedmeat, fish, fruit and vegetables, sponge and rice puddings, tea, co ee, UHTmilk and longlife juices. “Donating food is a great way for all of us to play our part,” adds Jo. “Our vision is for a UKwhere everyone is able to go to the shops and buy their own food. But until then, we need your help to make sure that everyone has the dignity of being able to feed their family.” Since the pandemic began, FareShare, the UK’s largest food redistributor, has doubled the volume of groceries it delivers to its 10,500 charities and community groups across the UK. For the last year, it has provided the equivalent of four meals per second, both day and night. Because the food FareShare distributes is donated by industry partners – in-date, quality surplus from companies such asWaitrose – the charity would reapmost benefit fromfinancial donations this Christmas, with just £5 funding the equivalent of 20meals. “I think we all recognise the power of food – it’s a great unifier, whether we’re celebrating a festival, someone’s birthday or just having a friend round for a chat and a cuppa,” says FareShare’s commercial director AlysonWalsh. “Imagine that happening four times a second, where themeal is the starting point to helping someone who’s struggling and can help them receive a lifeline and on-going support. That’s what FareShare does. “And we do all of this with in-date, delicious surplus food which would otherwise go to waste. So not only are we providing a social solution, but we’re also tackling an environmental problem.” If you have time to give, FareShare is also looking for volunteers for remote and in-person roles across o ce support, driving and food sorting. Becoming a volunteer is also one of the best ways to support nationwide family support charity Home-Start UK. In the wake of Covid-19, “social isolation and economic turbulence have magnified the pressure and anxiety of every possible challenge a familymight face,” says VivienWaterfield, deputy chief executive. “In some areas we’ve seen demand for Home- Start support increase by almost 50%. It’s really sad to see howmany families have been pushed to the limit. By volunteering for Home-Start, people can help a family facing tough times living in their community. “Across the UKwe havemany di erent opportunities, frombecoming a digital befriender to a home-visiting volunteer providing one-to- one emotional and practical support.” Financial donations are invited this Christmas too: “With demand for our support continuing to increase, the need to raise funds has never been greater,” adds Vivien. “A donation of £2.50 could provide a child with an activity pack, whereas £10 could fund a volunteer’s first visit to a family in crisis. Quite simply, themore funds we raise, the more families we can reach.” NEWS&VI EWS Photography: Gabriel Bahnareanu, Alexandra Smart