Community projects and people in need are getting a helping hand from two Aldi stores.
The supermarket chain's Seaham and Peterlee are now donating surplus food directly to local good causes to help people in the area.
Drug addiction treatment centre Free The Way, voluntary organization CHANCE Sunderland, and Café Together will collect food from the Seaham store on North Railway Street every week to support their efforts.
In Peterlee, The Partnership Project, which helps young people in the area, will collect food donations five days a week from the Aldi store at the Castle Dene Centre.
Fritz Walleczek, managing director of corporate responsibility at Aldi UK and Ireland, said the new partnerships are part of a trial between the supermarket and community engagement organisation, Neighbourly.
So far, Aldi has paired up a total of six stores in the North East with local good causes that are now collecting surplus food up to five days every week.
Each store is donating perishable items such as fresh fruit and veg, chilled products such as yogurt and milk, and baked goods. The trial will continue until spring, and if successful will be rolled out across Aldi’s entire store estate.
Last year the supermarket donated two million meals to charity and expects to increase this by 50 per cent if the trial is extended to its 827 stores.
Mr Walleczek said: “We’re always looking for new and creative ways to increase the amount of food we are able to donate. This partnership is enabling us to be even more efficient in how we distribute surplus stock, while supporting a vast range of causes, across the North East.
“Our aim is for fresh, healthy food to be accessible for everyone, and Neighbourly are helping us to extend this commitment beyond our affordable range of fresh products.”
Steve Butterworth, chief executive of Neighbourly, said "We are delighted to be partnering with Aldi on this programme and to help them realise their ambition to benefit those communities local to each and every one of their stores across the UK.
"Food surplus is a challenge Aldi is committed to playing its part to address. This approach is critical to ensure surplus food finds its way easily to the good causes supporting those communities that need it most."
Any local charities in Sunderland looking to partner up with an Aldi store should email email@example.com to apply.
Aldi has not sent any waste to landfill since 2014, and has also pledged to reduce operational food waste by 50% by 2030 as part of the Friends of Champions 12.3 network.
Aldi has worked with Fareshare and Company Shop since 2012 and is now also partnering with Neighbourly to explore the benefits of more direct relationships within the communities its stores serve.