Sainsbury's restores support for Sheffield soup kitchen

Sainsbury’s has reversed its decision to withdraw support for a popular soup kitchen in Sheffield, after The Star became involved.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 8:59 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 6:10 pm

Sheffield Churches Soup Kitchen has provided food and support to homeless people in the city centre for some 30 years.

St Matthew's Church on Carver Street is one of the churches which take it in turns to supply the grub, which is dished out on King Street, near the Castle Square tram stop, every night between 8pm and 9pm.

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Sheffield Churches Soup Kitchen

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For more than a decade, it has relied on the generosity of staff at Sainsbury’s on Division Street, who have donated sandwiches to the church every month when it is responsible for feeding the hungry mouths.

But earlier this month, when volunteers from the church visited the store to collect some provisions they say they were told by the manager that it couldn’t help as the retail giant had cut its budget for stores to support good causes in their neighbourhoods.

When Father Grant Naylor, of St Matthew’s, contacted Sainsbury’s HQ he claims he was told it was a matter for the local store.

He vented his frustration on Twitter, and, after The Star took up his case, Sainsbury’s had a change of heart and said it would continue to back the soup kitchen.

“The national team was saying it was a local issue but the local team said it was a national issue as Sainsbury’s had cut charitable funding for local stores,” said Father Naylor.

“The sandwiches it’s donated over the years have made a big difference, and we’ve always been very grateful for the support, so we were really disappointed when Sainsbury’s said it couldn’t continue to help.

“There are lots of volunteers who make sandwiches, soup and other meals, but it’s nice when local businesses chip in and play their part

“We’re so glad that after 10 years of sterling support Sainsbury’s has now decided to continue supporting the homeless soup run.”

Father Naylor said up to 50 homeless people attend the soup kitchen on a typical night and as well as providing food, some clothing and bedding, volunteers are able to get to know those who attend, look out for them and ensure they get the help they need.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “We have reassured Father Naylor that we will continue to support the Sheffield Churches Soup Kitchen.”