Brentwood Borough Council teams up with community groups to launch Can in a Van for donations to vulnerable residents

Brentwood Borough Council and local community groups are running a “Can in a Van” initiative today Brentwood’s Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer stores.

Residents and shoppers can simply drop a food donation into a red crate in the vans, knowing that these will go into the supplies held at the Town Hall to be distributed to those who vulnerable residents who need help.

The council launched ‘Can in the Van’ with the local supermarkets Sainsburys, M & S and Iceland just before lockdown began in March. Residents took the scheme to heart and donated more than £1000 in food and goods.

Council Leader, Cllr Chris Hossack said; “This initiative is to help boost the stocks and donations that the community groups have so that there is plenty for everyone who needs it. The first Can in a Van was exceptional in the way residents donated and I know that they will do the same again. Everyone wants to help in some way if they can and the Can in a Van is an ideal way to contribute whatever you can afford. We have to observe social distancing of course as safety for all is top of the priorities but with all the community groups reporting an increase in the number of people coming forward for help, this is a great opportunity to donate and know that you are making a difference.”

The Council is working closely with Brentwood Foodbank, The Daily Bread Café in Hutton and Manna Meals who are providing emergency food parcels for residents in need. They are being supported by Lighthouse Furniture Project who are helping to transport foodstuffs to these hubs and the council’s own community safety teams.

The “Can in a Van” is taking place today from 7am – 5pm and there will be vans parked just outside the entrance to Sainsbury’s and also outside of M & S on the High Street. The public can donate food items and these will then be taken back to the Town Hall where they will sorted and distributed to Brentwood Foodbank and Daily Bread Café for their emergency food parcels. Any ingredients supplied will be given to Manna Meals to enable them to make ready made meals which can  be added to these emergency food parcels to support those residents that need assistance.