DEMAND for food by needy people has proved so great that a collection point at a supermarket that was meant to be temporary has been made permanent.
The food collection point at Tesco Extra store, in Burn Road, Hartlepool, was intended to be in place for a trial period, from Christmas 2012 to Christmas 2013.
But after a staggering five tonnes of food was handed in to the store over last year and after bosses realised the problem of hungry families and individuals in town was not going to go away, the service has been made a permanent feature.
The store collected the most food out of all North-East Tesco supermarkets – delighting bosses that town residents were so generous but also highlighting the stark reality of just how much this facility is needed.
Generous shoppers – many themselves struggling to make ends meet – handed in long-life foods and three deliveries of the amassed food was made to Hartlepool Foodbank, which is based in Church Street.
The mail also backed the Foodbank scheme by launching our We Can Do It appeal to encourage readers to make donations.
An extra load was dropped off for the foodbank around Easter last year after customers pledged more food than had been anticipated.
Selina Wilson, the store’s community champion, said: “Throughout last year lots of Tesco stores throughout the country trialled collections for their local foodbanks.
“Hartlepool has been the most successful store in the North-East for donations.
“This shows that food collections are very desperately needed in Hartlepool, but also shows the good side of the community.
“Lots of people got on board despite the fact that it’s financially-restrictive for most households at the moment, and I think this does reaffirm your faith in human nature.”
Tesco head office provided the store with a donation point, which will continue to be in place.
Tesco will also top up any donations by 30 per cent.
Selina added: “I think it’s a response to how much this is needed in local communities.
“When we set out on a year’s trial, I think we thought we might be past the worst of the economic downturn by now.
“We encourage people to continue to donate and thank everyone ever so much for all their generosity and support.”