In addition to a £1000 donation to support Chichester Foodbank, The Southern Co-operative has extended food collection points into three more of its Chichester stores.
Since opening in 2012, Chichester Foodbank has fed 2148 people (to Jan 2014) and is seeing a huge increase in demand, with 1667 people helped in the period April 2013 to end of Jan 2014 compared with 481 people in the previous six months.
The Southern Co-operative has donated £1000 to the foodbank and added a collection point at its Chichester stores in Stockbridge Road, Spitalfields Road and Bognor Road to complement its existing collection point in its Oliver Whitby Road store. Joanne Kondabeka, Project Manager for Chichester Foodbank, said: “Since April last year, customers at The Southern Co-operative store in Oliver Whitby Road have donated over 310 kg of food to the foodbank, which is amazing. People are really generous and we’re really grateful for this and The Southern Co-operative’s support.” Joanne added: “30% of people coming to us are experiencing delays in benefit payments, 20% are living on the minimum wage and finding it harder to manage, 17% have had benefit changes and 13% have debt problems. Other reasons include domestic violence and homelessness. The collection points also help to promote the fact that help is available if needed, enabling us to reach more people.” The £1000 donation from The Southern Co-operative will be used by Chichester Foodbank to buy shortage items to top up donated food supplies and to help with fuel key payments to enable people to cook meals.
Store Manager Jo Wakeford said: “Our customers are very supportive of the foodbank, donating some of their shopping here or bringing items from home, which means it needs to be emptied at least once a week. Extending the number of collection points in our stores, and thanks to the ever generous support of our customers, this is a practical way that The Southern Co-operative can help meet increased demand for the foodbank.” The Southern Co-operative also has foodbank collection points in six of its Portsmouth stores and is currently expanding the number provided in its Isle of Wight stores.
Mike Partridge, Corporate Partnerships Manager at the Trussell Trust, said “We are delighted that The Southern Co-operative has been so supportive of the Chichester Trussell Trust foodbank. It is partnerships like this that will ensure local communities are equipped to help their hungry neighbours.”
Mike added: “One in five mums are skipping meals to feed their children in the UK today and rising living costs mean that more families are struggling than ever. Over the last six months we have seen the demand for foodbanks triple. Since April 2013, our network of Trussell Trust foodbanks has provided three days emergency supplies to over 550,000 people in crisis. The Southern Co-operative’s support at this time of acute national need is really appreciated.”
Chichester Foodbank, which also has a satellite in Selsey and Petworth with plans to open in Midhurst, is also seeking warehouse premises in Chichester: “We need to find a new location by the end of April, so if any local business has a warehouse available that they could let the foodbank use, we would love to hear from you”, said Joanne. More information is at www.chichester.foodbank.org.uk