Leicester-based business The Watches of Switzerland Group has given a lifeline donation of £20,000 to Leicester South Foodbank to support their fight against hunger.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, UK food banks have experienced a soaring 89 per cent increase in demand for emergency food parcels, including a 107 per cent rise in parcels given to children.
The Watches of Switzerland Group recognised the emergency need for additional funds to feed families, and in response pledged £100,000 to UK food banks and $50,000 to food banks in the USA – two nations amongst the hardest hit by the virus.
These vital funds have been shared between seven of The Trussell Trust’s food banks in UK cities where the group has a presence, including Leicester, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol and London. While the USA donation has been gifted to food banks in New York, Las Vegas and Florida.
Since 23 March Leicester South Foodbank has seen a 100 per cent increase in demand for emergency food. It has fed over 4,000 adults and children in less than three months since 01 April, compared to 5,598 people during the whole of last year.
Leicester is a special city to the group, having held its headquarters for 40 years.
Brian Duffy, CEO of The Watches of Switzerland Group, said: “During the COVID-19 crisis as more and more people fall on hard times, we are very aware of the significant increase in those relying on food banks and we wanted to play a small role in giving back to those most in need.
“While looking after the health and wellbeing of our colleagues has been our main priority, we also recognised the need to look after the people living in the communities around our stores. Our people have always been truly passionate about helping local causes, and we hope that these donations will help the food banks keep up with the demand they are experiencing to feed families in the UK and USA.”
Bruce Harrison, operational manager at Leicester South Foodbank, said: “Our food bank has never experienced such high levels of demand. COVID-19 has unfortunately caused a lot more people to be struggling financially to make ends meet and put food on the table for their families. As a voluntary organisation we rely completely on donations, which are needed more than ever at this time.
“This generous donation from The Watches of Switzerland Group will help us in many ways; from running costs, purchasing stock, funding a new larger warehouse to store enough stock to cope with this increased demand and training even more volunteers and staff. Thank you from all of us, this will massively help our community during these hard times.”