GENEROUS shoppers have helped to feed thousands of people who cannot afford food.
A food drive held this weekend showed how generous the region’s people are, with donations even coming from those who are themselves struggling financially.
FareShare in Hull teamed up with Tesco stores from Friday to Sunday to encourage shoppers to put extra non- perishable food items in their basket.
The items were collected to send out to organisations that distribute food to families who cannot afford to buy their own.
JJ Tatten, of the Goodwin Development Trust, which helps run the FareShare scheme in Hull, was with volunteer collectors at the north Hull Tesco store.
He said: “What always strikes me about the people of Hull is that they are incredibly generous.
“There was an endless stream of people happy to donate food, sometimes in extremely large quantities.
“The difference this year, though, compared with our campaigns in previous years, is that people were openly talking about their own struggles.
“People were telling us they couldn’t afford to give anything because they could barely afford to feed themselves.”
Mr Tatten spoke of one woman who was reduced to tears, revealing her own poverty meant she struggled to afford meals.
He said: “She very eloquently explained to me the situation she was in.
“In telling me, she became very upset and embarrassed.
“She kept using the word ‘embarrassed’ and I kept trying to tell her there was nothing to feel embarrassed about.
“She was having a bad run of luck and it wasn’t her fault she was in that particular situation.”
But despite the number of families who struggle to provide food for the table, many were willing to give whatever they could to the collections.
“Very elderly people with walking sticks and disabled people, who themselves are under the cosh with the changes in welfare, were still stepping up to the mark,” said Mr Tatten.
“A lot of people spoke very strongly of their feelings of solidarity with those who are struggling.
“They were appalled about the situations some people find themselves in and were desperately keen to do something about it.”
FareShare’s collections took place in Tesco stores across the region, with volunteers helping out in Withernsea, Market Weighton, Driffield, Goole, Hornsea, Bridlington and Hull.
MPs Karl Turner and Diana Johnson volunteered at the Hall Road store in Hull on Friday.
However, FareShare also receives surplus foods from brand-name giants, including Tesco and Marks & Spencer.
Mr Tatten said: “Although our collection drive is over now, there are other ways people can help us to combat food poverty.
“We’re looking for volunteers for our distribution warehouse in Sutton Fields.
“We’d also be grateful to hear from anyone who would like to donate money for petrol for our distribution vans, or for our utility bills, as it takes a lot of electricity to store the food and keep it cool.”
Anyone wishing to help can call 01482 587550 and ask to be put through to the FareShare team or JJ Tatten.