In the UK alone, 14 million people live below the poverty line. At a time when the impact of COVID-19 has made it even harder for many people to financially, or physically, access food, this number is set to increase dramatically, and the work of charities in the emergency food aid sector, has become a vital part of the pandemic relief effort.
One such charity is the Trussell Trust, which runs the largest network of food banks in the country, offering an invaluable lifeline for struggling families.
As part of its £1 million package of support to UK charities on the frontline of fighting the pandemic, BNP Paribas UK has partnered with the Trussell Trust on its vital mission to provide emergency food and support to people in crisis.
We sat down with Angela Whittingham and Shahron Young from our customer administration team at BNP Paribas Personal Finance, to talk about their involvement with the charity, and how this donation will make a difference to the lives of vulnerable people local to our offices in Solihull and Belfast, and right across the UK.
Angela and Shahron’s story
Angela and Shahron first became involved with the charity in 2013, when they started co-ordinating our support for Sparkhill food bank (which is seeded by the Trussell Trust).
Since then, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, headquartered in Solihull, has donated nearly 15,000 meals to the local foodbank, and the dynamic duo has worked hard to drum up support for the charity.
Angela explains: “Shahron and I were part of the social committee in 2013 when it first came to our attention that although there was a food bank collection in place, nobody really knew about it.
“We took it upon ourselves to raise the profile of the food bank amongst our colleagues, initially by making the food collection bins more visible and putting together donation leaflets asking for certain items.
“Shortly after this, we started holding bake sales and raffles to raise money, which we used to buy food. BNP Paribas UK has really supported these fundraising efforts, and over the years has repeatedly matched the money we’ve raised, helping us to buy even more food for the charity.”
Shahron adds: “More than anything else, it’s been the real stories of the people who rely on these food banks that have connected with our colleagues.
“Since 2013, the scale of our operation has increased dramatically, and we now have a crack team of fabulous colleagues on every floor who help us collect food and donations and deliver these three times a year.
“We really couldn’t do this alone, and every single person who’s ever donated food, bought a raffle ticket or purchased a cake from one of our bake sales has made a difference to someone’s life.”
The BNP Paribas Group and COVID-19
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BNP Paribas Group has launched an emergency €50 million emergency support plan covering 30 countries to provide support for hospitals, vulnerable populations and young people. To find out more, click here.