Cornwall’s Bishop has written to the heads of nine supermarkets asking them to donate spare food to recession-hit Cornish families.
Rt Revd Tim Thornton put pen to paper as demand for ‘Food Bank’ emergency relief reached record levels across the Duchy.
Last month (August), organiser Don Gardner confessed to the BBC: “Demand has exceeded supply. It’s horrendous at the moment”.
Foodbank was set up in Truro a couple of years ago and has since spread to Penzance, Hayle, Camborne and Redruth.
It’s a church initiative, sprung from a global charity .
In the UK, food bank specialises in helping people out during the three weeks you have to wait between signing on and getting your first Giro.
In Camborne alone, workers say they’re currently supporting thirty local families in need.
Rt Revd Thornton, who prefers to be known as ‘Bishop Tim’, wrote to the supermarkets about the crisis in mid August.
He’d spoken to local politician Cllr Armand Toms, who’s backing the drive from the council side.
Cllr Toms said: “We think that the big supermarkets could play a key role in helping to support people in need in their local areas.
“So we are asking them to help us in these difficult times”
On August 16th chief executives of Waitrose, Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Marks & Spencers were all sent Bishop Tim’s letter.
As yet he’s had no replies.
We’ve got the letter in full for you in small print down below.
But it more or less explains that Cornwall, though ‘not prosperous’, has a strong ‘community spirit’.
And the Bishop says Food Banks could work even better – with people donating food during a shop – if the corporate big guns backed the idea.
In a bolder move, Bishop Tim tells the businessmen they should let managers give food past it’s display date to a good cause – rather than chuck it.
Diocese spokesman David Watson explained: “We’re writing to the supermarket bosses asking to let their managers donate over-orders.
“That means goods they can no longer display, not food past its sell-by-date.
“We’re talking about the excess food that a big supermarket may end up throwing away.
“We’re asking, for example, HQ Tescos: ‘Can you give your permission so that when something is within two months of its destroy date: you give it to foodbank?
“Because Food Bank can turn it around so that it’s with a family within days.”
The spokesman went on: “The supermarkets stock many things apart from food which help people enormously in tough times.
“Essentials like, toiletries, soaps, toilet paper, all make a big difference.”
He added: “There certainly is a growing demand or foodbank’s services and and it’s reflection of the difficult times.”
“By working together – we hope together with the supermarkets – we aim to help as many of the residents in need as we can.”
Here’s the full text of Bishop Tim’s letter. There’s some links below it to Food Bank.
Could you use some free food?
If you or your family are really struggling to feed yourselves food banks are always happy to help out:
Here’s a full list of the food banks in Cornwall
And if you’re interested in local economics, the council has an excellent interactive map that comes up with statistics if you hover over your hometown.
The map of Cornish poverty ranks each local district by ‘deprivation’ on a national scale.