More than 90 UK food banks have been awarded grants as Asda marks the first anniversary of its partnership with food banks network Trussell Trust and food waste charity FareShare.
The £20 million campaign, entitled Fight Hunger, Create Change, aims to tackle the root causes of poverty and allow food banks to provide vital services to people in crisis.
From supplying emergency food parcels to providing on-site debt and money advice, the grants will enable food banks to hire specialist advisers, create additional storage space and step up work to help those facing poverty.
In the 12 months since the launch of the three-year partnership, it has funded the first phase of what it says is the most in-depth piece of research into food bank use to date, as well providing five million meals to people in need.
This has been achieved by opening three new FareShare warehouses and funding new chillers and vans to enable the distribution of an additional 1.8m meals a year and provide more than 2.2m meals to community groups.
In addition, 150,000 meals have been donated to FareShare’s network of local charities from unsold surplus food, and more than 1m meals have been donated to food banks through customer donations from Asda stores.
The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said: “We’ve never been in a position to support our network to deliver help to this extent before – the nature of investment is unprecedented.
“These grants will provide crucial additional resources to food banks, increasing the diversity and breadth of the services they can offer people in crisis and tackle the root causes of poverty.”
A pilot scheme has linked FareShare and the Trussell Trust, with more than a thousand people already benefitting from the fruit and vegetable donations.
The partnership said it would provide an additional 24m meals a year in the remaining two years of the campaign, as well as one million fresh food parcels.
Andy Murray, chief customer officer at Asda, said: “It’s been a year since we launched our partnership with Trussell Trust and FareShare, and I’m incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made to change the face of food poverty in the UK.
“As we move into the second year of our campaign, we’ll continue to provide not just meals for people but support to help them out of poverty, and we thank our customers and colleagues for their ongoing support in our challenge to fight hunger”.