Jun 272014

With thanks to Gavin Mowat, Constituency Assistant to Christian Allard MSP.

Alex Salmond MSP with Stephen King (food bank manager) at the opening of Aberdeenshire North food bank in Inverurie, March 2014crop

Alex Salmond MSP with Stephen King (food bank manager) at the opening of Aberdeenshire North food bank in Inverurie, March 2014.

Alex Salmond and Christian Allard are backing the third Neighbourhood Food Collection organised by Tesco in stores across the North East.

From Thursday 3rd July to Saturday 5th July, all Tesco stores will invite shoppers to donate an item or two (or more!) from their weekly groceries to help those in their communities who are struggling to afford to eat.

Since launching their first Neighbourhood Food Collection in December 2012, Tesco will have helped to provide some 10.2 million meals to help Trussell Trust foodbanks across the UK.

As well as hosting the collection, Tesco will also “top-up” all food donations by 30%.

On March 24th 2014 Alex Salmond officially opened the Aberdeenshire North Foodbank in Inverurie. Volunteers from the Aberdeenshire North centre will be participating in next week’s collections at Tesco stores in Inverurie, Huntly and Ellon and are looking for people to help them hand out shopping lists to customers and to pack and sort donations.

Mr Salmond said:

“Aberdeenshire is one of the most affluent parts of our country, but even here there are people who can fall through the cracks and suddenly find themselves in challenging circumstances.

“Though the rise in foodbanks is a disgrace in a country as prosperous as Scotland, the work of local volunteers is heartening – demonstrating the best in community spirit.

“I’d encourage those able to give of their time next week to lend a hand with food collections at their nearest Tesco store and for shoppers to donate what they can to help those in need.”

Christian Allard MSP for North East Scotland will visit the Tesco store in Ellon next Friday (4th July) where he will meet with and assist volunteers in asking shoppers to donate some food.

Commenting, Mr Allard said:

“I look forward joining local volunteers next Friday in Ellon and helping out with this important task. I will be encouraging people to be as generous as they can with their donations.

“Foodbanks are incredibly important in assisting families but they should not be necessary, especially in prosperous areas like the North East. In this part of Scotland there is considerable wealth and I am sure people visiting Tesco on Friday [4th July] will have kindness to match.

“I have seen the empty shelves in North East foodbanks that has been caused by a rise in demand. I know the volunteers and staff at these charities do a tremendous job and this is a fantastic opportunity to support their efforts.”

According to the Trussell Trust, the number of people who used foodbanks in Scotland between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2014 rose to 71,428 compared to 14,332 people in the same period from 2012 to 2013 – an increase of 400%. The charity cites benefit changes by Westminster, delays to welfare payments and low income as the main reasons behind people seeking support from local foodbanks.

Volunteers are invited to help at Tesco stores in Inverurie, Ellon and Huntly from 9am to 5pm from 3rd to 5th July and should contact info@aberdeenshirenorth.foodbank.org.uk or 07967 364600.

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