LISKEARD'S Morrisons store has come under fire after refusing to house a permanent foodbank for families in need – despite allowing an animal charity to collect for dogs in the supermarket.
The news comes a week after the Cornish Guardian reported that Liskeard and Looe Foodbank is preparing to feed up to twice as many people as it did last year due to changes in the benefits system but despite the growing need, Morrisons has refused to allow a permanent collection box to be sited in the Liskeard store, claiming there is not enough space.
However, shoppers can donate dog food to the Pedigree Foundation, which has been granted permission to keep a collection box and two cages behind the tills.
"Much as I love animals, my personal view is that it's much more important that human beings don't go without food," said David Berry, project manager of the Liskeard and Looe Foodbank, adding that this week had been particularly busy after changes to benefits rules took effect: "The phone's been ringing non-stop and there are more and more people being referred to us."
Volunteers from the foodbank carry out regular collections at the store but say a permanent donation point would enable them to collect substantially more.
"You just have to look at the footfall," Mr Berry said. "We have a permanent foodbank in the Co-op in Liskeard and have to empty it at least twice a week. At Morrisons there are well over 1,000 people a day walking through."
He said that during the collections at Morrisons volunteers collected food worth around £1,200.
"Morrisons would benefit from having a permanent collection there because people would be buying items to donate," he said.
"Other supermarkets are leading the way. The Co-op, Tesco and Waitrose are champing at the bit to have foodbanks in their stores."
He said he first approached the supermarket three years ago. "The issues they've raised are all things that we can overcome.
"We've offered to make something designed specifically to fit in the store.
"They told me they were worried about people putting fresh food in the bank. We've said that we would make it clear on the box which items can be donated, and we have volunteers who would check and empty it every day."
He said the foodbank expected to feed up to 2,000 people this year and was having to move to larger premises to cope with demand.
A Morrisons spokesman said: "Our Liskeard store is one of the smaller ones in our estate and we simply don't have the room to accommodate a foodbank.
"However, we have had numerous collections in store over the past year or two for the foodbank and have more scheduled for this year."
Permanent food collection bins are in place at the Co-op in Liskeard, Torpoint library and the Rusty Bucket Coffee Shop in East Looe, as well as in churches across Cornwall.