The north east’s biggest shopping centre has smashed its previous record for food bank donations thanks to generous contributions from intu staff and retailers alike.
Earlier this year intu Metrocentre chaplain, Reverend Canon Lyn Jamieson, approached colleagues to see if they would like to support Gateshead Foodbank and the response was overwhelming with donations of tinned meat, breakfast cereals, longlife milk, fruit juice and pasta sauce contributed by intu staff as well as nineteen retailers including Namco Funscape, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Primark.
2018 is the fourth year that the shopping centre has run a month long collection to support the local charity which provides a vital service in the borough of Gateshead. The total weight of donated dried foodstuffs has increased year on year however 2018 has set a new record of 496kg – an 84% increase on last year’s total of 270kg.
Gateshead Foodbank is dedicated to supporting local individuals and families in crisis. The charity was founded by local churches and community groups and is focused on engaging the community to combat hunger in Gateshead.
With one in five people in the UK living below the poverty line – demand for the services provided by food banks is greater than ever. Last year alone Gateshead Foodbank provided 5992 three-day nutritionally balanced emergency food supplies to people in the area, an increase from 3,832 the previous year.
The donations from intu Metrocentre couldn’t have come at a better time as food banks generally experience a peak in demand over school holidays as families who normally receive free school meals struggle to meet the costs of feeding their children during the holidays.
Gavin Prior, regional centre director at intu Metrocentre, said:
“We have been totally overwhelmed by the generosity of our staff and retailers – everyone has shown their true community spirit as the collection of food has surpassed all expectations and donation boxes were overflowing.
“Being at the heart of the local community gives intu centres a real insight into the concerns and priorities of the community they serve and the collection for Gateshead Foodbank reflects this. Everyone who donated should be proud to be involved with a charity which supports those who need it most in times of crisis.”
Carol Thompson, Trustee of Gateshead Foodbank commented: “intu Metrocentre’s contribution is an invaluable help in maintaining our service to the many people in need in the Gateshead borough. We are sending over a tonne of food a week to our distribution centres and they are feeding approximately 125 people per week so the donation of 496kg of food will make a difference to around 50 or 60 people.”
intu Metrocentre chaplain, Lyn Jamieson, who headed the appeal, added:
“Sadly there are more and more families who are reliant on the services provided by Gateshead Foodbank, but the generosity and kindness of people in the north east in response to our appeal has been incredibly uplifting and heartwarming – we’re delighted to support this incredibly worthy cause.”