Lidl has begun offering food donation boxes in stores across the country as retailers rally to help community groups provide essential food and supplies during the coronavirus crisis.
The discounter is extending its “Feed it Back” scheme, which it runs in partnership with Neighbourly, as the nation embarks on the most stringent social distancing measures yet, announced by PM Boris Johnson on Monday (23 March).
The boxes will be available in store for customers who may wish to donate any food or groceries to the cause.
Donations will be distributed to a broad range of organisations across Neighbourly's extensive network of community partners including food banks, community centres, soup kitchens and more, where any donated food will be put to good use every day.
Christian Härtnagel, CEO at Lidl GB csaid: “The current situation continues to be very challenging for everyone and that’s why we’re extending our ‘Feed it Back’ scheme with Neighbourly in our stores to offer our customers the chance to help make a difference too, if they feel they are able to. In these trying times, it’s vitally important that we look to help those within our communities who are in most need of our support.”
Steve Butterworth, CEO at Neighbourly, added: "We're pleased to be able to support Lidl as they roll out this new initiative. Our network of charities and community causes are working round the clock at this time to support isolated and vulnerable members of the community with food and basic essentials. Anything that customers can donate will make a huge difference to someone in their community."
The roll out follows last week’s announcement that the supermarket will donate £100,000 to its partnership with Neighbourly as part of the Covid-19 Emergency Community Fund.
Lidl has run its ‘Feed it Back’ scheme in partnership with Neighbourly since 2017, which enables the retailer to distribute unsold surplus food to local communities, and has so far donated the equivalent of over five million meals to its partner charities.
Lidl’s announcement follows similar efforts by the UK’s other main retailers. Of all the supermarkets, Asda has dug deepest, announcing it would donate £5m to its partners FareShare and the Trussell Trust to help the country’s most vulnerable people through the coronavirus outbreak.
This will provide over four million meals to families in poverty impacted by Coronavirus as well as allowing more than 3,000 charities to access free food over the next three months as they try to cope with a huge increase in demand.
Asda is also investing in the logistics and support services that will allow FareShare and the Trussell Trust to support families through the crisis. This includes funding for telephone, and online and food delivery systems for people unable to afford food and helping with the recruitment of 20,000 volunteers to support food banks.
Co-op is donating £1.5m worth of food to FareShare to help boost stocks and support local communities.
The convenience retailer also announced measures to combat holiday hunger in pupils caused by unplanned school closures. Some 6,500 students across 25 Co-op Academy Schools who currently have free school meals will be given a £20 voucher for every week that schools remain shut.
The German discounter has joined others in making an increased financial donation to Neighbourly. In addition, it has donated £250,000 to Age UK and £100,000 to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
To reward its staff for their efforts during this extremely busy period Aldi also announced its store and distribution staff would receive a 10 per cent bonus on hours worked, effective from 9 March.
The John Lewis Partnership is donating £75,000 to Age UK, FareShare and the Trussell Trust to help people struggling with isolation and food insecurity.
The group has also announced new measures to support customers, including the launch of a £1m Community Support Fund as well as offering its staff childcare support and free meals at work.
Marks & Spencer
M&S is also supporting Neighbourly with a donation of £100,000 to the Neighbourly Community Fund.
On top of this, the retailer will donate to the organisation every time a customer uses their Sparks card if they select the fund as their preferred partner.
A separate £100,000 donation has been made to the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal.
Likewise, Tesco is giving a 10 per cent bonus on the hourly rate of employees across its stores, distribution centres and customer engagement centres. For front line salaried managers, there will be a 10 per cent bonus on actual hours worked.
The bonuses have been backdated to 9 March and will last until 1 May, when the situation will be reviewed.