Sainsbury's and FareShare's annual food collection - the 'Million Meal Appeal' - broke its targets yesterday with latest estimates showing that two million meals were donated over the weekend's activities.
Run in partnership with food charity FareShare, the appeal encouraged customers to help make a difference by adding just one extra item to their shopping to help feed those in need - with every meal donated matched by Sainsbury's. The items collected are destined for local charities and projects in their surrounding communities, such as the soup kitchen run by the Astell Foundation that provides aid, accommodation and long-term support for London's homeless.
The store where customers donated the most items was Camden, London, where customers had donated enough food for 3,000 meals by yesterday morning, followed closely by Vauxhall, London, where by the same time they had provided enough food for 2,000 meals.
FareShare ambassador Lorraine Pascale also helped out over the weekend. She said: "The response has been amazing. We've raised millions of meals, one extra item at a time. It really shows how little actions can make a huge difference if we work together. Sainsbury's colleagues along with FareShare's army of volunteers have really gone all out to make this year's Appeal bigger and better than ever."
Harper, aged 7, who donated at Sainsbury's Cromwell Road said: "I bought beans and pasta because spaghetti bolognese is my favourite. I hope whoever gets them will like them too."
Sainsbury's Head of Community Affairs, Andy White said: "Last year's results were overwhelming so this year we doubled our efforts by extending the appeal to more stores and running it over the entire weekend. Our customers have been telling us that they like giving in this way and it's really apparent by their generosity despite difficult times. We're delighted to match all the meals donated by our customers and it means that together we're helping to provide two million meals to vulnerable members of our communities that need it the most."
FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell said: "The response to the Million Meal Appeal has been incredible. We'll be able to combine the donated pasta, rice and tinned food with the short life surplus meat, fruit and vegetables that we receive daily from the food industry. It will make these surpluses go even further in a time of real need."
The appeal was extended to 900 stores after the success of the event in 2011 at 600 stores where a total of 1.2 million meals were donated to help feed those in need. This year Sainsbury's ran the event over two days and offered its online customers the opportunity to get involved by choosing to make a £1 donation to the Appeal up to 9 October 2012.
Sainsbury's has been working with FareShare for almost two decades to help relieve food poverty and the Million Meal Appeal is a huge boost to FareShare's work. The appeal was created to supplement Sainsbury's ongoing and extensive food donations programme which is part of its policy to send no food waste to landfill within its normal operations. Whilst surplus food tends to be fresh produce, the appeal focuses on long-life cupboard essentials, meaning the food FareShare supplies to its network of charities can go even further. The Million Meal Appeal list consisted of products such as dried pasta and rice as well as tinned food, instant coffee and tea.