Sainsbury’s has announced that it will once again top up government-funded Healthy Start vouchers by £2, in a move that could help feed more than half a million pregnant women and children in need this festive season.
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 – up from £3.10 earlier this year following much needed lobbying from Marcus Rashford.
Sainsbury’s previously topped the voucher up by £2 between February and August earlier this year. The second installment of this initiative means families will be able to receive £6.25 worth of healthy and nutritious food per week. Around half a million families are eligible for the voucher.
Available from Thursday 9 December 2021 through to Friday 7 January 2022, customers who use a Healthy Start paper voucher at checkout will automatically receive a £2 coupon to be spent during their next shop (valid until 21 January 2022).
Healthy Start vouchers can be spent on cows’ milk, infant formula milk, fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables as well fresh, dried and tinned pulses with no added fat, sugar and salt, while the £2 Sainsbury’s coupon can be used to supplement this with additional fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables.
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 part 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 today’s news, 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 Taskforce financially commit to supporting users of the Healthy Start Scheme this winter.
He continued “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.”