A BUILDING society has donated £19,000 to a charity that supplies vital food to people in need – thanks to the generosity of its customers.

The money is being donated to FareShare, a charity which distributes surplus food to frontline organisations such as food banks and has been supported by England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford in recent months.

The Cumberland building society is donating the money as part of its Pledge for Votes scheme which sees £1 for every vote cast at the Annual General Meeting given to charity.

Alasdair Jackson, who helps to run FareShare Lancashire and Cumbria said the charity has delivered the equivalent of 785,000 meals during the first 12 weeks of the crisis, including 268,000 in Cumbria alone.

He said: “This issue of food poverty isn’t going to go away, and as more and more people will unfortunately end up unemployed at the end of this, I think we will see an even bigger increase in demand.

“We are not-for-profit. We simply exist to help people. The money from The Cumberland will enable us to get that food and take it to where it needs to go.”

Fewer votes were received this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic with Cumberland branches unable to process votes. But more customers chose to vote online, resulting in them receiving over 11,800 votes in total. As a result, The Cumberland has more than matched the donation it gave to Barnado's last year to ensure FareShare did not miss out due to the coronavirus.

The money will provide a welcome boost to the charity, which has seen a surge in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Surplus food from supermarkets, food manufacturers and others is collected at FareShare warehouses and then distributed to charities and groups such as food banks, community centres, women’s refuges, lunch clubs and school breakfast clubs.

Richard Ellison, CFO at The Cumberland, said: “Our customers have responded in their thousands to help FareShare and make a difference to those struggling right now.”