MELKSHAM Food Bank has returned its collection point to Asda after a national outcry saw the company go back on its decision to remove unmanned collections from its stores.
Less than two weeks after the supermarket giant announced its policy change in February, it issued a statement withdrawing the changes and allowing the food bank collection and green token scheme to continue.
The u-turn came after the concern of food banks’ organisers hit national headlines and a UK-wide petition calling on Asda to rethink their decision racked up nearly 90,000 signatures in less than a week.
Melksham Food Bank organiser Sue Henderson said, “We are pleased to have the collection point back because we heard from Asda customers who were disappointed. I’m sure they will be pleased and it will make it easier for them to donate again.
“We weren’t really surprised at the public outcry; food banks across the country have huge support and are used by such a lot of people. Surprisingly, The Guardian said one of the main reasons for the change of mind by Asda was the response of its own staff who were supportive of the food banks. We know from experience that the staff at the Melksham branch have been very supportive of us.”
The change had meant that Melksham Food Bank would have had to have a volunteer in-store whenever it wished to collect. The charity had said it did not believe the change would have damaged the food bank collections too badly, but that it was an inconvenience for customers who might have to travel out of their way to donate.
Now it can return to leaving a collection point at the supermarket for customers to donate as and when they choose.
An Asda spokesperson said, “As a retailer who is committed to supporting our local communities we never intended to stop food banks or similar local charities collecting in our stores. We made some changes to our community programme around unmanned collections in the belief that this would benefit the many local good causes who collect in our stores.
“On this occasion our customers and colleagues have told us they understand our intentions, but prefer us to continue to give charities more options to maximise donations. We are therefore reinstating unmanned collection points. Asda plays an important role in the communities we serve and we look forward to continuing to support many more local charities and good causes.”