Sunderland Aldi supermarket donates trolley loads of Easter eggs to city food bank

A city foodbank will be handing out hundreds of Easter eggs this bank holiday thanks to donations from a city supermarket.

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 7:00 am
Aldi in Millfield staff members. From left: Tracy Oliver, store manager Barry Robinson, Gemma Marshall, Matthew Keerey and Rihanna Oliver.
Aldi in Millfield staff members. From left: Tracy Oliver, store manager Barry Robinson, Gemma Marshall, Matthew Keerey and Rihanna Oliver.

Staff and customers at Aldi in St Mark’s Road, Millfield, have donated three trolley loads of Easter eggs to help bring some seasonal cheer to families struggling over the holidays.

The treats will be handed out through the food bank at Elim Pentecostal Church in Eden Vale where, sadly, its services are more in need than ever due to the pandemic.

Food bank manager Granville Hawkins said: “It’s not just a difficult time of year, it’s difficult all the time. There are people who never expected to be in this position, but they are now because of the pandemic. We also expect more people to need us once furlough ends are more people are laid off, sadly.

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Granville Hawkins (right) with Elim Church Foodbank volunteer Dave Smith

"Some of the people who come are terribly embarrassed, but they shouldn’t be, we are here to help.”

The food bank, which has been running in the city for more than 10 years, is run entirely on a volunteer and donation basis.

Speaking about the Aldi donation, Granville said: “It’s nice to be able to put an Easter egg in people’s parcels, whether they have children or not, just to show them that someone is thinking of them.”

Barry Robinson, store manager at the Aldi in Millfield, says being able to help the community is important to staff members who’ve worked throughout the pandemic.

Elim Pentecostal Church in Eden Vale

He explained: "It was one of our staff members, Tracy Oliver, who came up with the idea of doing something to help. A lot of our customers come in and buy tins of beans and other items to donate to food banks in the city and Tracy said it was heartbreaking to think that some kids may not be getting Easter eggs this year.

"She asked if we could do something to help, so customers and staff paid for eggs to donate to Elim food bank. This is very much a community store, we’re actually the oldest Aldi in Sunderland, which means we have a lot of regular customers who have shopped here for years. If something happens, this is a community that sticks together.”

He added: “As a manager, I’m really proud of the staff who do a hard day’s work. It helps them to be able to give back to the community, it helps provide a feel good factor in these difficult times.”

Elim is one of 11 food banks in the city, however, some have had to temporarily close due to the pandemic.

::Anyone wanting to make a donation to the Elim food bank can drop off non-perishable goods on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Food can also be dropped at the COOP Centre in Hendon on Wednesday and Thursday between 10am and 1pm. Ring ahead to check a volunteer will be there on Tel: 07907 667384.

::Anyone in need of a food bank can get a referral number from bodies such as Sunderland City Council or Citizen’s Advice on Tel: 0300 330 1194 to speak to a trained and independent Citizens Advice agent (lines are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm).

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