Together for change with the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation

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By Crispin Shingler, corporate partnerships manager at the Trussell Trust

Our vision is for a UK without the need for food banks.

We say this because it’s not right that anyone can’t afford their own food. That’s why we’re working towards a just, compassionate future, where no one should have to use a food bank to get by.

Here at the Trussell Trust, we are proud to continue to partner with Sodexo through its Stop Hunger Foundation, which believes quality of life begins when basic needs are met.

Since 2017 we have been sharing similar principles and working together to support food banks in the Trussell Trust network to help people and families during times of financial crisis.

We are thrilled by the enthusiasm Sodexo has shown towards our Together for Change strategy and belief in our vision.

With support from corporate partners such as Sodexo, we will be working towards helping food banks actively reduce the need for emergency food in their communities.

In 2021, with its donation of £70,000, Sodexo is supporting our new national telephone helpline, Help through Hardship, and will continue to support our core offer of support to the food bank network.

Before the pandemic, people needing a food bank’s support were referred by a range of professionals including teachers, health care and social workers and staff at advice centres such as Citizens Advice.

After being issued with a food bank referral voucher, people then collected emergency food supplies from their local food bank.

During lockdown, many referral partners stopped operating face-to-face services.

It was important therefore, to ensure that referrals to food banks could still be accessed at a time when many referral agencies had reduced services in a way that did not require referral partners, or people needing a food bank’s support, to leave their homes.

This was made possible through a partnership with Citizens Advice (England & Wales) by setting up a new national telephone helpline, Help through Hardship, in April 2020.

More than 21,000 people have accessed the helpline for support to increase their incomes by ensuring they are receiving the benefits they are entitled to.  You can find out more how our Together for Change strategy is having an impact here.

The ongoing support from Sodexo has allowed the Trussell Trust to remain flexible and agile in continuing to support the food bank network to best help people and families in their communities in financial crisis.

This includes our operational teams providing bespoke one to one support to food banks and food banks in the network having access and support to a range of unique cloud-based systems.

The Trussell Trust also works with academics and researchers to understand the root causes of food bank referrals so we can then work with policy makers to push for changes that would better protect people from needing a food bank.

Sodexo employees make up the heart of the Stop Hunger Foundation and are the main force behind both their fundraising and volunteering efforts.  We are very much looking forward to seeing them support food banks in our network by helping to encourage customers offer food donations at the Summer Food Collection hosted by Tesco between 15 and 17 July.

Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “It’s not right that any of us are forced to a charity for food but food banks in our network have experienced record need during the pandemic.

“We are delighted the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation is supporting us in 2021 as we work towards our vision to end the need for food banks in the UK.  Generous support like this will be essential in helping to ensure food banks in our network are best equipped with the necessary tools to tackle poverty in their communities and Sodexo’s support with Help through Hardship will be central in providing this.”

Gareth John, Head of Trustees at the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, said: “We are pleased to be supporting Help through Hardship, as our aim at the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation is to tackle hunger, malnutrition and food security by supporting those most vulnerable in society. The work of Trussell Trust is essential in tackling the root causes of poverty, so our partnership is key in working towards this.”

We’re excited to have the continued support of Sodexo and together in partnership we’re making change happen to end the need for food banks in the UK.