Lemn Sissay with Waitrose food parcels landscape

Source: Waitrose

Lemn Sissay with Waitrose food parcels

Waitrose is to distribute food parcels to care leavers over Christmas, as part of the John Lewis Partnership’s festive charity efforts.

In a repeat of an initiative last year, in conjunction with The Gold From The Stone, a foundation founded by the author Lemn Sissay, the retailer will donate 3,510 food parcels to care leavers who otherwise would have been alone at Christmas.

Between Christmas and new year, the retailer will donate three parcels each to 1,170 individuals, which will be distributed at a series of Christmas lunches and meals organised by the foundation.

The parcels – which include groceries like tea, biscuits, soup, mince pies and pasta – will give people who have recently left care some “necessary shopping” to last them past Christmas and into the new year.

“The Christmas dinners are for young adults who have been in care who feel alone on Christmas Day,” Sissay said.

“I am over the moon that Waitrose and John Lewis Partners are supporting the Christmas dinners throughout the country. Waitrose are providing incredible Christmas hampers filled with goodies for the young care leavers to take home after the Christmas dinner. This support is crucial in winter time.

“It means the care goes beyond the dinner into the homes of vulnerable young people,” the poet and broadcaster added. “It is the tenth year of the Christmas dinners and your support is a Christmas present in itself. I feel emotional. The Christmas hampers from Waitrose and John Lewis are immensely important to everyone involved and brings added magic to the day. I know the hampers are not for me but as the person who started this enterprise this feels like my first Christmas present.”

The partnership has increasingly focused on improving opportunities for, and the daily lives of, care leavers, as part of its flagship Building Happier Futures programme, which was launched by chairman Sharon White in October 2022.

In November, the retailer confirmed it would bring back its charitable ‘giving trees’ in Waitrose and John Lewis stores. The Christmas tree-based format – which has also appeared in Morrisons previously – lets customers select a donation tag that can be scanned when they pay for their shopping.

JLP will also donate a further 600 food parcels to 200 experienced care guests at a Christmas Day dinner hosted by its charity partner Who Cares Scotland.