The Galleries Shopping Centre is supporting Washington Foodbank in the build up to Christmas and is urging shoppers to buy an extra tin or packet of dried food for those in need as the festive season begins.
Shoppers can donate food in special foodbank boxes at ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Poundland and Nationwide. Staff working at the Galleries as well as those at M&S and McDonalds are also contributing with donations.
Washington Foodbank is an independent charity serving Washington and Springwell, run by volunteers and relies on the generosity of the public to keep going.
Andrew Hoseason, project manager at the foodbank, said: “Washington Foodbank are delighted to be working in partnership with the team at the Galleries and additional shops this Christmas. In the past, we have benefited from a close and fruitful relationship with both Asda and Sainsbury’s.
“We hope this new partnership over Christmas will lead to a long-lasting relationship with the Galleries and individual stores that will provide the foodbank with an increased volume of food to match the ever-increasing number of people in crisis referred to the foodbank.
“People in crisis are referred to us by the Jobcentre, Gentoo and health agencies for short term assistance. In 2017 we have been helping an average of 170 people per month, up from 120 last year.”
Supporting this increase in the demand, national foodbank network, The Trussell Trust, reported earlier this month that they had seen demand for food parcels increase by 30% in areas where Universal Credit had been introduced and 12% where it had not.
David McNee, centre manager at the Galleries, said: “We know that Christmas is a very special time of year but we are aware that demand for foodbanks has been increasing and will continue to rise dramatically during winter.”
He added: “As we have many food retailers here at the Galleries, it gives us the opportunity to try and help local people that may well have gone without.”