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Holiday Hunger donations were vital to getting Suffolk foodbanks through school holidays

PUBLISHED: 07:30 16 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:43 16 October 2020

Shoppers at the Combs Ford Co-op store donating to the Holiday Hunger campaign over sumer. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OPERATIVE

Shoppers at the Combs Ford Co-op store donating to the Holiday Hunger campaign over sumer. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OPERATIVE

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Suffolk foodbanks have thanked shoppers who donated a staggering five tonnes of essentials across East of England Co-ops to help children through the school holidays.

Shoppers at the Combs Ford Co-op store donating to the Holiday Hunger campaign over sumer. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OPERATIVEShoppers at the Combs Ford Co-op store donating to the Holiday Hunger campaign over sumer. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OPERATIVE

The co-operative ran a six week Holiday Hunger campaign in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, appealing to customers for help supporting 24 foodbanks in the region to cope with a surging demand for their vital services.

Henry Wilson is projects director at Reach Foodbank in Haverhill and said every bit of the donations made a difference to providing services in West Suffolk.

“The support we get from the East of England Co-op is brilliant,” he said. “The fact there is somewhere people can go locally to donate items for us really matters.

“The funding has also made a huge difference as we have had to adapt our services to ensure we can help those in need – it means we can keep the van on the road and continue collecting and delivering food out to the rural communities.”

Shoppers at the Combs Ford Co-op store donating to the Holiday Hunger campaign over sumer. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OPERATIVEShoppers at the Combs Ford Co-op store donating to the Holiday Hunger campaign over sumer. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OPERATIVE

Caroline Davies of the Stowmarket Foodbank said it had been fantastic to get the donations and added: “We have been really busy with a lot of people being referred as they’re coming off the furlough scheme and struggling to manage.

“Some people have already been made unemployed in the local area.”

A spokesperson for the Hadleigh Foodbank Charity Trustees, said: “The support of the East of England Co-op and its customers and workforce has been and remains invaluable to our organisation since our inception.

“The Holiday Hunger support campaign is further proof of the excellent community support from the Co-op business, its staff and customers.”

Shoppers at the Woodbridge Co-op store donating to the Holiday Hunger campaign over sumer. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OPERATIVEShoppers at the Woodbridge Co-op store donating to the Holiday Hunger campaign over sumer. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OPERATIVE

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There were an additional three tonnes of donations collected this summer, compared to last year, and joint chief executive for the Co-op, Niall O’Keefe, said this demonstrates increased awareness of the crucial role of foodbanks.

The business is now looking ahead to November 17 and 18 when it will be holding a Food Justice Conference, where discussions will focus on the challenges which lie ahead for foodbanks.

One challenge is the surge in demand expected to hit following the end of economic support measures and beginning of the second wave of the pandemic.

Other Suffolk projects supported by the East of England Co-op:

• The Teapot Project – £1,600 to help fund the building of a cold room to store food rescued from waste for redistribution to those in need.

• Suffolk Baby Bank – £2,250 to enable the distribution of store vouchers supporting the rising number of families in crisis due to Covid-19.

• Copleston High School, Ipswich – £7,350 in vouchers to support families in need

• Ipswich Academy – £300 in funding towards breakfast club items and opening provision to the whole school which is in an officially recognised area of deprivation.

• Box of Hope, Wickham Market & Pettistree Churches – £360 of store vouchers to provide fresh produce to complement Fare Share dry products for weekly food box deliveries to families in need.


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