Tesco boss urges groups to sign up for free food

The Oban Times - - News - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

OBAN’S Tesco store is ap­peal­ing for more lo­cal char­i­ties and com­mu­nity groups to take ad­van­tage of free food go­ing to waste each month, and to ap­ply for a share of £8,000 in monthly grants.

Tesco’s ‘com­mu­nity food col­lec­tions’ do­nate sur­plus food ev­ery night to or­gan­i­sa­tions in need of it, but only four have ap­plied in the Oban area so far: Schools Out Oban, Hope Kitchen, Oban Youth Café and Soroba Young Fam­ily Group.

Kenny MacCal­lum, lead fresh food man­ager, said: ‘Ev­ery night we look at what stock we will be wast­ing and we of­fer a se­lec­tion to our des­ig­nated char­ity that night. We text that char­ity, “Would you like that do­na­tion?”, and rather than it go­ing in the bin, they can make use of it.’

The do­na­tions in­clude baked goods, fruit, veg­eta­bles, prepacked meat and fish, ready meals, desserts, eggs and prod­ucts in dam­aged pack­ag­ing, but not pre-pre­pared food such as sand­wiches and sal­ads, or al­co­hol.

‘We have four char­i­ties that cover five nights,’ Kenny con­tin­ued. ‘We have two spa­ces – we would like it to be seven nights.’

Brian Ross, store man­ager, added: ‘We have given 2,020 meals, just un­der a tonne of food, since late Novem­ber. We are throw­ing stuff in the bin two days a week. We have prob­a­bly thrown away a tonne.

‘It is a trav­esty the food that is wasted. If we had seven nights’ cover, it would make such a dif­fer­ence in the town. There must be peo­ple who are able to take this food.’

Any char­ity or com­mu­nity group in­ter­ested in ap­ply­ing should visit www.fair­share.org.

Tesco staff are also urg­ing lo­cal groups and char­i­ties to come for­ward and grab a grant via the Bags of Help scheme, which gives cash to lo­cal causes from money raised by the 5p car­rier bag charge.

Mr Ross said too few lo­cal char­i­ties and com­mu­nity groups had ap­plied for the grants, which pay out £ 5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 each month via a cus­tomer vote in the store, and he hopes many more will come for­ward.

‘There must be lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions who can do with this cash,’ he said. ‘Ev­ery 5p bag you buy, the money goes back to char­ity.’

When ap­pli­ca­tion num­bers in­crease, Tesco will de­crease the size of its re­gions, which will ben­e­fit more lo­cal projects.

‘It is a huge amount ev­ery month, if you think £8,000 could be go­ing lo­cally,’ Mr Ross said. ‘How many peo­ple could have been touched by that?’

Com­mu­nity projects can nom­i­nate them­selves for a grant, or be nom­i­nated by cus­tomers. Visit the Tesco Bags of Help web­site.

Oban Tesco store man­ager Brian Ross hands over the do­nated food to Jean MacPherson of Schools Out Oban.

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