By Daniel Bailey, Portfolio Strategy Manager
Back in 2018, Hampers of Hope was a local foodbank supported by members though our Local Community Fund.
In the same year, about 20 of my colleagues from Property volunteered to help at the charity’s Christmas hamper pack, which then led to us fundraising over £2,000 for them in 2019.
Without this donation, last year’s hamper pack – which aims to give underprivileged families, people in poverty and the homeless access to food at Christmas – wouldn’t have happened.
But, despite the support of its dedicated volunteers over the past 10 years, Hampers of Hope had to close at the end of 2019.
After being involved in the past two hamper packs, it was heart-breaking to imagine the amount of families who’d potentially end up going hungry this Christmas, especially after what has been such a tough year for so many.
So, despite lockdown, colleagues from across Property have been busy this year doing all we can to raise as much money as possible to continue Hampers of Hope’s vital work.
There’ve been fancy dress runs, Christmas in July celebrations and a 5,000-mile distance challenge (the equivalent of us walking to Lapland and back!)
Because of all that, and the incredible support of our suppliers, we were able to raise over £9,000 and pack 1,000 hampers for two Trussell Trust foodbanks – Manchester Central and Manchester South – and The Mustard Tree, who’ll hand them out to families throughout December.
75 Co-op colleagues – including our Co-op Food CEO, Jo Whitfield – volunteered to help with ordering food, loading and unloading, stocking, packing, cleaning and transportation. Of course, social distancing made this year’s pack feel a little different. But in true Co-op spirit, we donned our Christmas jumpers, played a little festive music and packed like little elves with smiles on our faces.
Across two days we packed 1,000 hampers into 3,000 separate bags with over 25,000 products and delivered them to three charities across Manchester. We even went back to one of them to help hand them out to families.
A big thank you to everyone involved and to our wonderful suppliers. Especially Princes, who donated over £10,000 in food and helped us pack, and Corona Energy who donated £1,000!
Here’s what one of the foodbanks had to say:
“Like everyone working with people in poverty this year, we have experienced levels of demand that we have never seen before. Thank you to all at Co-op Property for purchasing this huge amount of food with all your fundraising, and then organising it all into parcels for us.
“[This] will help hundreds of people in our community who have been forced into food insecurity. In a turbulent time that has been difficult for everyone, thank you for thinking of others. Your kindness and generosity have helped us to provide food to those who cannot afford it. Thank you, from all the volunteers, staff and trustees at Manchester Central Foodbank.”
Support people to get fairer access to food
Through Co-operate, our online Community platform, you can:
- connect with a local group in your community who’s tackling food poverty and needs volunteers or food donations
- donate or exchange surplus food with a local community Hubbub fridge
- find out what your council is doing to fight food poverty at a local level through Co-op Party’s Food Justice Finder
- donate to food banks – visit the Trussell Trust website and find a food bank in your area
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