Demand for food parcels grows as economy worsens

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Staff at a new Ashford foodbank are desperately trying to get local supermarkets on their side.

Mark Reece said the church organisation are being supported locally by producer Premier Foods, but is having trouble convincing the big supermarkets of the benefit.

He said: “I think it’s a no-brainer, but they are not forthcoming at all. Tesco are being supportive but it is a long process.

“And we have had answers from Sainsbury and Asda which were both definitive no’s.”

Ashford Foodbank distributed its first parcels in March, and is now food around 10 people a week - including young children. Organisers expect this figure to grow five or sixfold.

The number of foodbanks around the country has increased as the economic situation has got worse.

He is calling on the major companies to allow the Ashford Foodbank to put a box or trolley at the front of their supermarkets so customers can donate something as they leave the store.

Currently, they are relying on local churchgoers and others to make donations directly. Premier Foods in Ashford, which produces Cup-a-Soup, Pasta ‘n’ Sauce, Savoury Rice, Paxo, Bisto and McDougal products has backed the group - and they hope to eventually win over the supermarkets.

Mr Reece said: “What are hoping is that as we become established we will approach them again and they will be more tempted.

“They are supporting other foodbanks around the country, so there are relationships, but we are new to this town.

“It’s an absolute no brainer for the supermarkets. If one gets on board with us, it will encourage the church congregations to go there and spend, and they get plenty of good news stories published.”

And he has some tough talking for the public too because of the 10 per cent food constantly going to waste.

He said: “It is wastage on an immoral scale. Imagine if each time you were paid, you were asked to simply put 10 per cent of your wages in the bin.

“We cannot imagine that many people would think this is a sane thing to do, yet we continue to do this with our food.”

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