Food bank is making a meal of store deal

Robin Aitken, co-director of Oxford Food Bank, Matt Thomas and Amy Jenner

Robin Aitken, co-director of Oxford Food Bank, Matt Thomas and Amy Jenner

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

Oxford Food Bank is set to expand thanks to a new deal with supermarket giant Tesco.

The news means the charity will be able to provide about an extra 100 meals a week to the city’s most needy families.

Tesco, in Cowley, will hand over unused food to the food bank every day.

The food bank was set up in 2009, so that each night charities, shelters and community centres can stock their larders with high-quality eggs, bread, vegetables and dried foods which businesses are no longer able to sell.

Food bank director Robin Aitken said: “They give us what they can’t use on the day and will be thrown away, so typically it’ll be things like bakery goods, fruit and vegetables.

“Much of it is such good quality stuff, that the charities and centres would not be able to afford to buy it in their budgets.”

The charity, which already has a partnership with Sainsbury’s, also receives donations from Fresh Direct, in Bicester, its sister company Roots, and Bookers wholesalers, along with items from delicatessen provider Alatoni in Bicester.

The food bank recently took delivery of a new walk-in refrigeration unit thanks to a £10,000 donation from the Oxford Mail’s parent company.

Mr Aitken said: “The chilled room has been a huge help to us.

“It allows us to keep food that we would have had to deliver within 24 hours, for anything up to five days.”

Amy Jenner, dairy manager at the Tesco store at the Ambassador retail park, said: “It feels great to able to give something back to community.

“It was a shame to see so much perfectly good food going to waste. So we think this is a fantastic scheme.”

The Oxford Food Bank has recently started delivering to Sobell House hospice, at the Churchill Hospital.

Hospice fundraiser Kevin Game said: “The food bank is a great idea.

“It’s a terrible shame to think food can be left to go to waste, so this helps everyone.

“Our wonderful catering staff at Sobell House can make amazing things from very basic ingredients.

“Even though a lot of our in-patients have reduced appetites it’s great to think that our service means that patients can get something to eat day or night, and if that food is donated then even better, as it helps us keep running costs down.”

The food bank, based in Lamarsh Road, West Oxford, provides about 1,500 meals a week.

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