Belfast Telegraph

Store in food donation vow after row

By Claire Williamson

A retail group has made a donation to a charity after it came under fire for its store policy on supplying out-of-date food to the homeless.

It came after a father of a 16-year-old Spar employee took to social media to claim his son was told by his manager he could not give away food that was past its use by date to a homeless man as the cold snap took hold.

He went on to say that the schoolboy "bought the homeless guy a coffee and sandwich and snack out of his own money" when he said he was "pulled up by his manager and told that it was unacceptable and he was not to do it again as he was in uniform and represented the company".

However, in response Henderson Group said it would be "taking action" to reward the "great deed" of the young employee and that it was working to find a way to make sure its products can be used "more sustainably in the future".

It said: "You may have seen some comments regarding our store policy on supplying out-of-date food to the homeless. The policy to not share food that is past its 'use by date' on an ad-hoc basis, is one taken with reference to our legal obligations under food safety standards and the obvious risk of food poisoning.

"However, we are working with food banks and the right companies to make sure these products can be used more sustainably in the future. Henderson Group and all associated companies and stores are dedicated to their local communities and working with charities that are making positive local impacts. Local store managers are regularly implementing local initiatives

"We are delighted that this store's employee's actions reflected those values, and while we will also be taking action to reward his great deed, we will also be making a donation to the Simon Community.

"We appreciate the matter being brought to our attention. The integrity of this young employee is to be applauded and is a timely reminder to look out for those in our community... in particular, during this cold spell."

Speaking afterwards, the boy's father said he accepted it was an "error of judgment" on the part of the manager. He said: "I hope that the manager is not vilified and that all employees are clearer on Henderson's social responsibility policy and other company's should review how staff treat and respond to such events. I'm delighted that they will be making a donation and reviewing what to do with non-sellable but usable foodstuff."

Belfast Telegraph

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