Tesco boss urges groups to sign up for free food
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.