PENARTH Assembly Member Vaughan Gething visited the local Tesco store to support the company’s national food collection scheme last week.

Tesco held the collection in all of its stores between July 3 and July 5, with the scheme run in conjunction with charities the Trussell Trust and FareShare.

Trussell Trust figures show that in 2013-14 foodbanks fed 913,138 people nationwide. Rising food and fuel prices, static incomes, underemployment and changes to benefits are some of the reasons why increasing numbers are being referred to foodbanks for emergency food.

At their last UK collection in December – thanks to the generosity of customers and staff, when coupled with Tesco’s 30 per cent top up donation – they were able to provide 4.3million meals for those in need. Since the first Food Collection in December 2012, 10.3 million meals have been donated to help Fareshare and the Trussell Trust help feed people in need across the UK.

Customers at the Tesco in Penarth were given a special shopping list when they entered the store and were asked to pick up an item of food such as long-life milk, tinned foods and tea and coffee before donating it at the end of their shop. Mr Gething was guided on his visit by customer service manager Sally Fisher.

Vaughan Gething AM said: “I’m very happy to support Tesco’s National Food Collection for foodbanks. Our foodbanks do a fantastic job of supporting people who find themselves in a desperate situation. They are an increasingly important service that is sadly needed by far too many people. I hope that people who are able to contribute take this opportunity to donate items of food for families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet."

He added that the Vale Foodbank had helped to feed 7,500 people in just over two years.