One of the country's biggest budget supermarkets will give away its surplus food to families in need this Christmas.
Aldi, which is closing stores on three occasions across the festive season, says it wants to give products including fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables approaching the end of their shelf life to those who might otherwise miss out.
It is encouraging local charities, community groups and food banks to register now to receive surplus food donations that will be made on two occasions over the Christmas and New Year period.
Aldi has pledged to donate 10 million meals this year to families in the UK facing hunger but the company says it is using December to donate more food than ever to good causes.
Unwanted food from its 930 UK stores is regularly sent into communities thanks to a partnership with community organisation Neighbourly, which connects shops with food banks and charities.
But with all Aldi stores set to close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day the retailer says it wants to ensure that any product which will be near the end of its shelf life during that time is given to households and families that are facing a difficult end to 2021.
Charities, food banks and community groups in Kent who think they could benefit from this offer are being encouraged to get in touch and ask now for a festive food donation from Britain’s fifth largest supermarket.
Existing charity partnerships, says Aldi, will be prioritised for the festive collections, but where there’s availability, additional organisations who apply will be paired with a local Aldi store to collect fresh and chilled food products – including fruit, vegetables, fresh meat, fish and bread – ahead of stores closing on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Mary Dunn, Managing Director of Corporate Responsibility at Aldi UK, said: “Our food donations scheme operates year-round, but we know that Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for the families and communities we support.
“That’s why we are so committed to increasing the number of meals we donate over the festive season, and we look forward to working with local charities this Christmas to help us meet our 10 million meals target for the year.”
Steve Butterworth, from Neighbourly said that he believes there are many more organisations and charities that could put unwanted festive food to good use at the end of December, and he is urging them to register their interest.
He explained: "With the impact of the pandemic still being felt by communities up and down the country, charities and local causes are expecting record demand for their services this Christmas.
"We’re sure there are lots more groups out there that could put the food to good use, so we’d encourage them to get in touch."
Organisations do not need to be a registered charity to apply but must have a level two hygiene certificate gained in the last two years and be able to transport and store chilled food items after collecting them on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve at 5pm.
Anyone interested in joining this scheme should register their interest with Neighbourly at email@example.com before December 5.