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Weekly store donations help families in Andover

NHS workers, families in need and the homeless in Andover are all being supported by donations made by co-operative customers.

Every week, since the outbreak of the coronavirus, colleagues at The Co-operative Food – Andover have been adding to donations made by their customers and delivering them to local organisations.

Thanks to the overwhelming community support, colleagues at the store in East Anton Farm Road have been able to donate hundreds of pounds worth of goods. They have also raised an extra £150 for FareShare, the UK’s largest hunger fighting charity, to support the distribution of food to charities in the south.

The idea was started by the store’s baker Bob Ward who enlisted the help of his Store Manager Richard Bundy who has even driven to local residents’ houses who wanted to add to the donations but were unable to leave their homes.

Bob, who lives in Augusta Park, said: “I felt that we needed something. I mentioned it to Richard and we started off collecting for the NHS ambulance station who was sharing it out with staff at the hospital. I simply planted the seed and Richard has grown the flower.”

Donations have since been made to the Countess of Brecknock Hospice and the YMCA – Andover.

At the YMCA, the donations have been passed on to a wide range of people in need including large families who are ineligible for furlough payments and individuals who have become homeless.

The YMCA says the donations have made a big difference as they have been able to add them to donations of food from Tescos which is coming to the end of its shelf life.

Kirsty Brennan, Lead Practitioner at East Anton YMCA, said: “There is currently a really high need in Augusta Park so the donations have been really, really positive. Because the need is so mixed, having support from Southern Co-op and Tescos is great as we get a mix of bread and vegetables with tinned foods and other essentials such as toothpaste.

“If you are emptying your cupboards then please consider donating it to us or to The Co-operative Food in East Anton Farm Road. Together we’re building support for local families and we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated these fantastic essential items.”

Donated goods from The Co-operative Food – Andover, which is part of the regional co-operative Southern Co-op, have been a mix of customer and colleague donations along with donations from the co-op’s wider community programme.