Our Help Brighten a Million Christmases campaign returned to help those who need it most
Last year was difficult for so many families, so to help support those in need over the Christmas period, we brought back our annual ‘Help Brighten a Million Christmases’ campaign. Over December we worked with customers to donate what they could to help feed families in need with Sainsbury’s matching all donations up to £1.5 million.
During the season of giving, fundraising efforts ran from Wednesday 1st December to Friday 24th December. Customers donated physical products in over 1200 Sainsbury’s and Argos stores across the UK, or donated money at checkout points in all Sainsbury’s and Argos stores, via SmartShop, or when shopping at Sainsbury’s online.
Every £1 customer donation provided the equivalent of two hot meals, so once matched by Sainsbury’s, each £1 donated helped feed four people in need. We were committed to ensuring that more Brits could celebrate the year without hunger, making sure Christmas was a time to savour for everyone. The campaign builds on our year-round work with our charitable partners to provide vital support to those who need it most.
In total, Sainsbury’s and their customers raised over £2.6 million for this year’s Help Brighten a Million Christmases’ campaign. Our stores across the UK worked with over one thousand local partners over the Christmas period to make sure the meals donated were shared with the families that needed them most. In addition to our local partners, we also worked with FareShare through Sainsbury’s Groceries Online and Argos.co.uk.
Lindsay Boswell, CEO at FareShare said: “FareShare is very grateful for the enormous support we receive from Sainsbury’s and are delighted to partner on Help Brighten a Million Christmases for the second year, with Sainsbury’s matching donations. Sainsbury’s customers showed great generosity last Christmas and throughout the year, donating the equivalent of 1,598,000 meals to FareShare through the Groceries Online campaign. As we head into winter, we know our charities are needing more support than ever to provide for people in our communities”.
The campaign also works alongside our other charity work, including our partnership with Neighbourly which manages our back of store food donations. Neighbourly helps to match Sainsbury’s stores with a food donation partner, ensuring that any surplus food gets directed to the people who need it most. Since its launch in Autumn, we have donated over half a million meals to support those most in need.
Healthy start vouchers
As well as the ‘Help Brighten a Million Christmases’ campaign, over the festive period we also topped up the Government funded Healthy Start vouchers after the success of the programme earlier in the year. Between February and April 2021 we supplemented the Healthy Start voucher with an extra £2 towards a future fruit and vegetable purchase, more than any other retailer, which resulted in 1.2 million additional portions of fruit and veg sold to customers over 6 months, impacting over 17,000 low income customers.
We brought the initiative back towards the end of last year with vouchers available from Thursday 9th December 2021 through to Friday 7th January 2022. Customers who used a Healthy Start paper voucher at checkout automatically received a £2 coupon that could be spent during their next shop until 21st January.
The vouchers, which are provided by the Government to low-income pregnant women and families with a child under the age of four, provide eligible families with a voucher worth £4.25. With Sainsbury’s support, this meant families could receive £6.25 worth of healthy and nutritious food per week. It was estimated that half a million families were eligible for the voucher, giving hope that the additional £2 coupon helped those who needed it most over Christmas.
At the time of the announcement, Ruth Cranston, Group Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Sainsbury’s said: “Earlier this year we helped families across the UK by topping up their Healthy Start vouchers with a £2 coupon, and today we have announced that it’s an initiative we are bringing back this winter to help those in need over the festive period, a time that we know is difficult for many families.
“Each and every child has the right to healthy and nutritious food, and as part of our new brand mission ‘Helping Everyone Eat Better’, we hope this goes some way towards helping families provide that.”
Sainsbury’s is a proud partner of Marcus Rashford’s Child Food Poverty Task Force, a coalition of charities and food businesses working together to end child food poverty.
Commenting on the announcement, Marcus Rashford, MBE said: “The fight to end child food poverty is far from over and I’m proud to see Sainsbury’s as one of the founding members of the Task Force financially commit to supporting users of the Healthy Start Scheme this winter. This Christmas could be one of the toughest on record and these steps will inevitably alleviate some of the pressure on the shoulders of families up and down the country. A big thank you to all involved.”