Warwickshire charity teams up with Tesco to help give free food to people in need across the county

The Warwickshire-based charity help to make sure people in need across the county get food supplies for free – especially those who cannot get to a foodbank.
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Vulnerable people in Warwickshire are receiving free food from the county’s Tesco stores thanks to a local charity.

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The Vulnerable Assistance Network provides free in-date surplus food from the supermarket to people throughout the county, with the food helping to ensure that families do not go hungry.

Some of the volunteers that help support the Vulnerable Assistance Network charity. Photo suppliedSome of the volunteers that help support the Vulnerable Assistance Network charity. Photo supplied
Some of the volunteers that help support the Vulnerable Assistance Network charity. Photo supplied

The Warwickshire charity receives most of its food in donations from the supermarket as part of the Community Food Connection surplus food scheme, which involves stores and food surplus redistribution charity FareShare.

Vulnerable Assistance Network began life as the brainchild of sisters Debbie Deacon and Nicki Pearce, who were inspired to start the charity after seeing many people’s livelihood affected by the pandemic.

They have since set up a network of collectors, who pick up surplus food and distribute it among the communities they live in – especially reaching people who cannot get to a food bank.

The charity also supports nurseries for breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and a pantry to provide food for parents.

Debbie said: “We are very grateful to Tesco for this food. It helps us distribute to as many people as we possibly can. Our volunteers work really hard.

“During the pandemic, so many people were affected, regardless of how well off they were. We don’t discriminate. If people need food, we will provide it for them.”

In addition to the team of volunteers, Debbie and Nicki are helping young people earn their Duke of Edinburgh's Award Silver Scheme by encouraging them to give a hand at the charity.

Nicki added: “Young people are the future of charitable organisations, and without charities the country would come to a stop, so we’re glad to be able to show young people the benefits of volunteering for good causes for themselves and for their communities.

“We’re also embracing modern technology to reach people in their communities. We have set up many WhatsApp groups, with one having 400 people in it, so that no-one needs to miss out.”

Claire De Silva, Tesco head of community, said: “Working with community groups such as Vulnerable Assistance Network to help them get the food they need is such an important service for us to be able to provide.

"The dedication they have to their community is amazing, and we are pleased to do what we can to support.

“We firmly believe no good food should go to waste, which is why we began our Community Food Connection scheme. It enables us to ensure our surplus food is put to good use in communities.”