A seasonal campaign by a town supermarket urging shoppers to donate food for those in need is to bypass its own local food bank.
The Tesco collection week is in partnership with major food bank organisation the Tressell Trust and UK food redistribution charity Fairshare. The nationwide campaign - Tesco Neighbourhood Food Collection - is running throughout this week and is encouraging shoppers to drop into the Sleaford store with tins, packets and bottles of food to put food on the tables of struggling families and individuals.
However, Rod Munro, manager of the Sleaford Community Larder, based at the New Life Church on Mareham Lane, said none of it will be coming their way as they had opted not to pay a membership fee to become part of a food bank network.
He said: “We are an independent food bank. The Tressell Trust has a lot of food banks around the country. Tesco’s collection will go to a central distribution point. We are voicing our concerns because the campaign says it is supporting local food banks and it isn’t always the case. Something like this happened before and we went in and asked to take their collection off their hands as the local neighbourhood food bank and they could not say no.
“We would love to make use of the produce locally again this year. We are all volunteers and feel it is not a good use of our funds to be paying a licence to be part of a national organisation.
“We are well supported by other individuals and organisations in the town and are incredibly humbled by their support. All we are trying to do is put food on the table and it is very difficult when you are working against national charities.”
Sleaford Community Larder has helped 1,200 cases this year - a 15 per cent increase on last year.
A spokesman for Tesco said the partnership with the Tressell Trust and Fairshare was designed to target the biggest network of food banks and maximise coverage across the country. He said: “We do work with local food banks up and down the country and the Neighbourhood Food Collection will benefit people in need. The superstore would work with the community all year round.”