He was once a trolley boy at the Tesco store on Brewery Lane in Bridgend .
So Bridgend AM and First Minister Carwyn Jones was the perfect choice to officially launch the 2016 Neighbourhood Food Collection, which encourages shoppers to donate staple foods to those in need.
He joined representatives of the Trussell Trust, FareShare Cymru, Tesco and pupils from Llangewydd Junior School in Cefn Glas, Bridgend, at the start of the three-day drive on Thursday.
“It’s great to see children involved in collecting for such a good cause,” said Mr Jones, who worked at the 32-year-old store shortly after it opened.
“We know there are still too many people who struggle with the every day necessities of life, but it’s great to see children giving their time and people also giving their money to them and smiling.”
Shoppers are urged to spend a few pence extra
The twice annual Neighbourhood Food Collection sees Tesco stores across the UK asking shoppers to spend a few pence extra on tinned and long-life foods that can benefit those in need and good causes.
Many stores also have permanent Trussell Trust and FareShare food collection points, from which donations are sent to food banks , women’s refuges and homeless shelters.
FareShare Cymru project manager Sarah Germain said: “The food from this helps us to enable other organisations to provide full meals.
“Last year from our depot in Cardiff we provided 1.2 million meals for south east Wales, which this collection contributes to.
“We are working with something like 7,500 people a week, which includes the Emmaus homeless charity in Bridgend, KPC Youth in Kenfig Hill, Noddfa Chapel Community Project in Caerau, Caerau Development Trust, Court House Youth Club in Maesteg and the Cornelly and District Luncheon Club.”
Teacher Lisa Card, who brought class J6 pupils along from Llangewydd Juniors to help with a cash collection running alongside the food collection, said: “They are learning about the fact that not every child has a meal waiting at the table for them, while also learning how to express themselves by explaining what’s going on to people.”
Store manager Catherine Hill said the collection is just one way in which the store supports the community.
Among the items needed for the collection are:
• tinned meat, fish, veg, fruit and soup
• tinned pies
• cooking sauces
• tea and coffee.