Foodservice giants Brakes and Bidfood managed to deliver more than five million shield packages across England and Scotland to those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable during the four month respective Government shielding programmes, which came to an end at the start of August.
The initiative was launched to ensure that vital food supplies could reach Britain’s most vulnerable people during lockdown and involved more than 3,000 employees from the two companies.
The boxes contained more than 20 products, including some that were a challenge to source at the beginning of the pandemic, such as pasta and rice. In total, more than 15 million cans of soup and 3,000 tonnes of rice and pasta.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “I want to thank all those involved at Brakes and Bidfood for the sterling work they have done to get food to the most vulnerable people in our society. Together they have packed and delivered 4.7 million food parcels across England – a truly outstanding effort in such a short space of time.
“While the food boxes have come to an end, those who had registered for them will remain eligible for a priority supermarket delivery slot and the NHS Volunteer Responders Programme will continue to provide support with getting food, prescriptions and essential items to those who are self-isolating for any reason,” he added.
In a joint statement, Alex Mayfield, Director of Supply Chain and Operations at Brakes, and Jim Gouldie, Supply Chain and Technical Services Director, Bidfood, said: “Everyone involved across both businesses have been so proud to have played a part in helping some of the nation’s most vulnerable people at a time when supporting them was so crucial. We had this scheme up and running in a matter of days and since then, every morning, hundreds of vehicles have left our depots carrying thousands of essential supplies across the country to those who need them.
“The number of calls, letters and messages on social media that we’ve received have been amazing. Our drivers have heard first-hand how these boxes have been a lifeline for the clinically extremely vulnerable receiving them throughout lockdown and we’re delighted to have been able to be a part of such a critical programme.”