Stanningley: how lunchtime clubs and foodbanks are helping those in need

19 November 2019

A West Leeds church group has been given a boost when it comes to supporting locals in need, thanks to Tesco’s Community Food Connection scheme, run in partnership with food charity FareShare.

Stanningley-based Oak Church Leeds offers supportive lunchtime clubs and foodbank sessions to local residents who are referred to the group in crisis.

Through Tesco’s Community Food Connection scheme the group receive contributions such as bread, pastries and sweet treats like doughnuts that go towards the group’s Connect Lunch Club every Monday (11am-1pm) and their foodbank sessions every Friday.

The group are part of the Places of Welcome Network: a growing local community group which wants to make sure everyone in the area has a place to go for a friendly face, a cup of tea and a conversation if and when they need it.

Jo White, part of the People’s Team at the Bradford Road church, said:

“Tesco’s Community Food Connection scheme directly supports up to 30 people in the local community each week by providing a free two-course healthy meal to those in need.

“Our main aim is to provide food for anyone who is in food poverty, as well as providing an opportunity for people to connect, build friendships and to combat loneliness.

“The donations supplement the Church’s contribution to the meal and enables us to serve more people and make higher quality, more nutritious meals that give a greater choice for our community members.

“We use the majority of our donations on the day that we collect them from Tesco, but anything we don’t use is kept fresh or frozen and used at the end of the week through our foodbank sessions, ensuring nothing goes to waste.

“We have the added advantage that we can make this available to our foodbank clients who wish to supplement their food parcel with items they would not otherwise receive.”

The Friday foodbank, which runs between 5pm and 7pm, helps around 40 to 50 people a week from a variety of backgrounds.

Grandmother of four Jo added:

“There is quite a wide age range of people who use it. Some are families, some are single parents with young children. Others are unemployed and people on benefits. And some are right up to retirement age.”

Nicola MacKay, Community Food Programmes Manager for Tesco, said:

“We’re proud to work with Oak Church Leeds, whose dedication to the community is amazing. They have already helped so many people, and we are so pleased to be working with them to assist even more people in need.”

Since launching in February 2016, Tesco’s Community Food Connection has donated surplus food to over 7,000 local charities and community groups.

The scheme pairs Tesco stores with local charities and community groups, alerting them to available unsold surplus food items in their local stores via a mobile app. This food can then be collected by charities and supplied to people in need, ensuring that no good food goes to waste.

Tesco are keen to hear from any charities which could benefit from this programme and would encourage any interested groups to get in touch with their local store or visit this website to register.

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