TESCO has donated more than 73,000 meals of surplus food in Wrexham.

The supermarket revealed the figure on Monday as it hit a milestone of 50 million meals being donated across the UK.

Food has been donated through the Community Food Connection scheme the company operates with redistribution charity FareShare.

Every Tesco store in the UK participates in the scheme, which is celebrating five years of helping communities across the country. Each month more than a million meals of food are donated.

Since the start of the pandemic almost 700 new groups have signed up to receive food from the scheme, helping to respond to the needs of communities across the UK.

FareShare’s chief executive Lindsay Boswell said the scheme, the largest of its kind in the UK and believed to be the largest in Europe, was making a real difference.

“We are delighted that Tesco has reached this milestone – donating the equivalent of 50 million meals is no mean feat and has gone such a long way in supporting thousands of charities and community groups up and down the country,” he said.

“The scheme is a real game-changer for organisations working with the vulnerable, allowing even more people to access good to eat food which would otherwise go to waste.”

The project works by pairing charities and community groups with their local Tesco store.

At the end of each day a store colleague works out which food is likely to be unsold and then uses a specially-developed app to tell a local charity or community group what food can be collected.

Across the UK 7,000 charities and community groups have benefitted from the scheme, with 42 groups currently receiving surplus food from Tesco stores in the Cymru North Wales.

Among the groups that receives donated food from the scheme is Wrexham Church Fairhaven Congregation.

Church volunteer Caroline Searle, said: “For us, the work is a way of putting our faith into action. We see it as our responsibility to help the needy and vulnerable, as the Bible says.

“Demand has doubled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Before lockdown, 90 per cent of the people we were helping were homeless but now we’re helping all kinds of people.

“We get referrals from the council and AVOW (Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham), and we also send food parcels to local residents who are self-isolating.

“As well as the typical tinned items and toiletries, the fresh food donations from Tesco means we’re able to prepare homemade meals to include in our food parcels.”

To find out more about Community Food Connection visit: tescoplc.com/community