The Co-op is to donate £1.5 million of food to a charity that tackles hunger.
Essential food products will be given from next week to FareShare, which supports more than 11,000 charities and community groups, including food banks.
Products will be split between FareShare’s 23 regional centres, and then supplied to a network of local community groups across the country.
Food banks have seen a significant drop in donations as the coronavirus takes hold, but they remain a lifeline for those who rely on donations to feed their families.
Demand is set to grow as the number of people who unexpectedly find themselves out of work increases.
Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said: “The Co-op has a critical role to play in supporting our members, customers and colleagues, as well as the local communities that our stores sit at the heart of.
“Food banks have never been more important, so it makes sense that we provide support to help FareShare keep people fed and watered during this unprecedented time.
“It’s a great example of us all co-operating and pulling together to help those most in need and I would ask everybody if they can to contribute to a food bank near to them. Every tin, jar or carton makes a difference.”
Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of FareShare, said “At this time of huge uncertainty, we all need to pull together to help those most vulnerable and most affected by the issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The very generous support of £1.5 million worth of food from the Co-op will enable the FareShare network to maintain a continued vital food supply line into our charities over a prolonged period of 10 weeks, providing great reassurance that there will be a baseload of food provided to the 11,000 charities and community groups that FareShare and our partners support every week across the UK.”