MSP Joan McAlpine has praised an initiative ensuring donations at local Tesco stores go to the local food bank First Base.
Ms McAlpine visited Tesco’s Peel Centre store to thank community champion Robyn Brown for ensuring all the donations made at the Tesco annual drive went to First Base, which has been distributing food parcels in Dumfries and surrounding communities for several years.
During the recent collection 3000 items were donated by local customers. Robyn said “it is lovey seeing the community come together.”
While at the store Ms McAlpine bought the equivalent of a First Base food parcel, which came to £13.11.
The SNP MSP said:
“There was some disquiet about a year ago when it was discovered that food collections in local stores didn’t go to local charities.
“I am absolutely delighted that Tesco have challenged that policy.
“Now all donations in the Peel Centre, Annan and Lockerbie stores go directly to First Base, which distribute food parcels to Dumfries and the surrounding communities, including outreach to mid and upper Nithsdale.
“At this time of year it is absolutely awful to think some families are struggling to eat, and food banks really shouldn’t need to exist at all.
“But First Base does absolutely essential work and I was delighted to purchase the equivalent of an average First Base parcel.
“Although Tesco’s Christmas collection is now finished, individuals can still donate to First Base food bank. In particular, they need things like instant pasta, Pot Noodles, bread, UHT milk and pasta sauce.”
Commenting, Mark Frankland said:
“In the last five years the First Base Food bank has had to deal with a spectacular increase in demand. 1000 emergency food parcels each year has become 5000 emergency food parcels each year. That represents a total of £200,000 of extra food. We couldn't possible have afforded to buy this food in. Paying the rent and the phone bill is hard enough!
“Over the last twelve years we have never once had to turn anyone away due to a lack of food. We are really proud of this record. However it must be said that we would never have been able to maintain the record without the unbelievable support of the local community.
“We are hugely grateful to the three local Tesco stores who have chosen to support our work and enabled the public to demonstrate their generosity.”
Pictured: Joan McAlpine MSP, with Mark Frankland and Robyn Brown.