Coop food bank

Source: Central England Co-op

Collection points will be installed across all stores between 8 July and 15 September

Central England Co-op has launched a summer food bank appeal after figures showed more than 350,000 children currently live in poverty in 16 counties served by the society.

The move, aimed at tackling holiday hunger, will see special collection points installed across all stores between 8 July and 15 September.

Customers will be encouraged to donate items ranging from cereal, tinned food, sugar and rice to UHT milk, fruit, instant coffee and toiletries, which will then be used to create bigger food parcels.

The activity comes after data collated by the End Child Poverty coalition and researchers from Loughborough University last month revealed a total of 354,553 children were currently living in poverty. The society said food banks often saw a rise in demand from families when the ‘safety net’ of free school meals was removed during the holiday season.

It is hoping to beat last year’s local collection of 141,000 items, which helped create 35,000 meals for children and families.

“We at Central England Co-op have worked closely with our food bank partners to come up with a special campaign during the summer months to try and help combat the issue of holiday hunger,” said Central England Co-operative chief executive Debbie Robinson.

“We are asking for people to drop off as many items as they can into our food bank collection points in our stores and play a part in making a real difference to children and families.”

Earlier this month food-to-go retailer Eat announced it hoped to raise £25,000 for a children’s charity this summer, as part of a campaign to tackle holiday hunger and inactivity.

It is donating 25p from the sale of four products in support of StreetGames’ Fit and Fed initiative, which supports local communities by providing free access to sports and healthy meals.