Sainsbury’s has launched a nationwide initiative to point out foodbank essentials to shoppers – and the initiative is a “a new idea to an old problem” from 13 teenagers.

The National Citizen Service (NCS) graduates from Exeter spotted foodbank donation bins in supermarkets around the country and bemoaned the fact that they were located beyond the tills, meaning it was often too late to donate.

This gave them the brainwave to come up with the ‘Help to Brighten a Million Christmases’ campaign – a new on-shelf label highlighting priority products to be donated.

Sainsbury's foodbank label
Sainsburys-foodbank-label
The 13 teenagers found a simple approach to boosting foodbank donations with their shelf label

The label – which was produced in an NCS social action project this summer – has been trialled in Sainsbury’s Exeter store following a successful pitch to manager Sarah Spurling and will now be rolled out across the country as a permanent fixture from December 16.

Tinned goods, pasta, tea, long-life milk and spreads will all be placed under the label in a bid to boost donations. Foodbanks have been facing increasing need with national charity The Trussell Trust reporting a 13 per cent rise in the number of packages given out in the last year –the troubled roll-out of Universal Credit has been blamed.

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The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.

Sister firm Argos will also be accepting toy donations at its stores.

“We are committed to making a positive difference in local communities and we hope our customers get on board to help brighten the lives of those less fortunate in the community,” said Claudine Blamey, Sainsbury’s Group head of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “It’s been brilliant to work with NCS graduates to permanently roll out their fantastic label initiative to all our stores and help reach our target of one million donations.”

Mark Richardson, manager of Exeter Foodbank, added: “Teenagers these days often have an unfair reputation for being unengaged with the world around them, so it’s great to see young people being empowered by programmes like NCS to go out into their communities and make a difference.

“The results of this initiative just goes to show that sometimes you just need a new mind on an old problem, sometimes the most simple ideas have the greatest impact. This campaign has already had fantastic results locally, and I’m excited to see how it can benefit foodbanks and their clients across the UK.”

Images: Sainsbury’s